Common Defense Endorses Brian Bengs for U.S. Senate


WASHINGTON — Common Defense, a grassroots organization of progressive veterans with more than 250,000 members, is proud to endorse Brian Bengs to represent the great state of South Dakota in the U.S. Senate. 

Common Defense-endorsed candidates are individuals who we believe best capture the grassroots energy of our political moment to champion a policy agenda rooted in economic, social, and global justice. We are proud to announce the addition of Brian Bengs to our slate of endorsees. Common Defense is deeply committed to and engaged in grassroots organizing, and these candidates are running and leading with these values at the forefront. 

About Brian Bengs:

Brian entered the U.S. Navy immediately after graduation. Upon completion of his military service, he returned to Iowa to pursue a bachelor’s degree in history from Iowa State University where he met his wife of 27 years. He then attended the University of Iowa Law School. After passing the bar exam, he entered the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps where he spent 19 years living and working all over the U.S. and in Japan, Germany, Kuwait, and Qatar. 

During his Air Force career, Brian took night classes to complete a master’s degree in history at Louisiana Tech University. He was also selected by the JAG Corps to attend the George Washington University Law School for an LL.M. degree (master of laws) in international law. He has taught at the U.S. Air Force Academy, NATO School Oberammergau, and the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo, Italy.

In 2016, Brian retired from the Air Force and was finally able to settle his family in one place. He and his wife selected Aberdeen, South Dakota, as the hometown for their daughters when he accepted a position teaching criminal justice and homeland security at Northern State University. In fact, Aberdeen is the longest he has lived anywhere since leaving his parent’s home for the Navy. 

“We have no doubt that Brian will bring the same relentless commitment to service he brought to the Navy and the Air Force to representing South Dakota in the United States Senate,” said Naveed Shah, Political Director at Common Defense. “His opponent voted against the Honoring Our PACT Act, which delivered sorely needed health care for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins. We know that Brian won’t be swayed by politics or corporate money and will do the right thing for our members and the people of South Dakota. Common Defense is proud to endorse Brian Beng’s campaign.”

“As a Navy veteran and Air Force retiree, I am a product of the Department of Defense’s education and leadership development system,” said Brian Bengs, candidate for U.S. Senate. “I was taught that taking care of people is everything because nobody succeeds alone. To do that effectively, leaders must be critical thinkers with an open mind, confident in the consequences of decisions, and consistent in the principles applied. This approach is why my goal in running for office is to serve regular South Dakotans by supporting policies that help them rather than large corporations and the super rich. I am extraordinarily proud to have the support of Common Defense and its membership of like-minded veterans. ”

Common Defense is distinct from other veteran political organizations in that we endorse and support candidates who reflect the progressive values of our 250,000 members, regardless of whether the candidate served in the military themselves. Our work in 2022 focuses on organizing and training veterans and military families in these districts in order to give them the chance to speak out and challenge the status quo, and to change the false narrative that all veterans are conservatives. The military community is not a political prop to be exploited, and we will not endorse an agenda of greed and hate. 

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