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At least 12 veterans will be joining the 115th Congress next year, including seven who served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Veterans groups have called for more of their own to run for political office, citing their understanding of the true costs of war as well as their ability to work with people who may hold different beliefs.

Jimmy Panetta, who served in the Navy Reserve as an intelligence officer from 2003 to 2011, won a seat this week in California’s 20th District. He said his service will give him a better understanding of today’s military operations, which often consist of a small number of special operators, not large-scale ground forces. That’s similar to the conditions in which he deployed to Afghanistan from July 2007 to July 2008 to work with the Joint Special Operations Command.

“I was fortune enough to be part of special operations task force that was involved in finding, fixing and finishing high-value targets and it was an enlightening, eye-opening and valuable experience that is definitely something I’ll be able to use in this position,” the California Democrat told the Washington Examiner. “As a representative, to have that insight into how our special forces units operate will only benefit me and possible decisions I’ll be making with respect to funding and authorization of a potential use of force.”

But Panetta, whose father is former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, said that even though he’s a veteran, he’s interested in contributing to more than just defense matters on Capitol Hill. Once he gets to Washington in January, Panetta said his priority will be to get a spot on the House Committee on Agriculture, but added that it would be “an honor” to serve on the House Armed Services Committee to protect the 10 military installations in his district from base realignment and closure.

Scott Taylor, a Republican who won the House seat this week for Virginia’s 2nd District, also said he believes his time in the military will help him in Congress.

“I think my years overseas and service in the SEAL teams will certainly benefit me tremendously with understanding how the world works, with national security, and with working in a team setting,” Taylor told the Examiner.

Taylor served in the Navy SEALs for more than eight years, including a deployment to Iraq as a sniper. This year, Taylor defeated incumbent Rep. Randy Forbes in a surprise primary upset.

Taylor will represent the Virginia district that includes Virginia Beach, home of several SEAL teams, as well as parts of Norfolk, which has a large Navy presence. As a result, he said it is “logical” based on his constituents and background to serve on the House Armed Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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That, however, is actually his “Plan B.” His first choice would be a seat on the House Appropriations Committee, since Virginia will have no representation next Congress on the committee that controls the purse for the first time in 100 years, he said.

Here are the other veterans who will be joining Congress for the first time in 2017:

— Brian Mast, Florida-18, enlisted in the Army in 1999 and served for more than 12 years, including as a bomb disposal expert for Joint Special Operations Command. He lost both legs while disabling an improvised explosive device and earned the Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal for valor. After he recovered and left the Army in 2012, Mast, a Republican, served as an explosive specialist with the Department of Homeland Security.

— Mike Gallagher, Wisconsin-8, joined the Marine Corps after graduating college and served for seven years as a human intelligence and counterintelligence officer, deploying twice to Iraq. He also served on retired Gen. David Petraeus’ Central Command Assessment Team. After his military career, he went on to serve as a Republican staffer for the Middle East, North Africa and Counterterrorism on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

— Jim Banks, Indiana-3, currently serves in the Navy Reserve as a supply corps officer. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2014 and 2015 to serve in Operations Enduring Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel. The Republican previously served as chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Military Committee in the Indiana State Senate.

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— Anthony Brown, Maryland-4, is a Democrat who retired as a colonel after more than 25 years in the Army Reserve, where he served as both a military lawyer and an aviator, according to his campaign bio. He deployed to Iraq in 2004. He previously served as the lieutenant governor of Maryland.

— Don Bacon, Nebraska-2, served in several different communities during his nearly 30-year career in the Air Force, including intelligence, electronic warfare, reconnaissance and public affairs, his biography says. During his career, the Republican deployed to the Middle East four times, including for a year in Baghdad during the surge in 2007-2008. He retired as a brigadier general.

— Neal Dunn, Florida-2, served in the Army for 10 years following his graduation from medical school and left the service in 1990. He is a Republican.

— Thomas Garrett, Virginia-5, is a Republican who served in the Army for six years, according to his biography. He was previously elected to the Virginia State Senate in 2011.

— Roger Marshall, Kansas-1, is an OB-GYN who served for seven years in the Army Reserve, training a mobile hospital support unit. The Republican left service as a captain.

— Salud Carbajal, California-24, served for eight years as a Marine Corps reservist, including being called up to active duty during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Since then, the Democrat was elected to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors and has worked on a number of initiatives to stop climate change and preserve the environment.

— Jack Bergman, Michigan-1, retired from the Marine Corps as a three-star general in 2009. During his military career, the Republican also launched two startups in the medical equipment field.

Congress could gain one or two more veterans if a runoff for the House seat in Louisiana’s 3rd District goes well for Clay Higgins. Higgins received 26 percent of the vote on Tuesday, coming in second place to Scott Angelle, another Republican, who got 29 percent. The runoff election between the two is set for early next month. Higgins, who is a police officer, began his career as a military police officer for the Army.

In addition, Douglas Applegate, a retired Marine colonel, is still in a tight race with Rep. Darrell Issa in California.

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