American Veterans Vote

Our Mission

  Support Veterans and their Families

  Defend our Constitution as Written and Amended

  Protect the Nation at Home and Abroad 


April 4, 2023

From the CEO

Calling All Veteran Voters

EVERY VETERAN, EVERY VOTE!  Now more than ever, it’s time to rally the voting power of Veterans. Veterans have served and fought for our right to Vote. Over 700K+ Veterans live in Virginia. 400K+ Veterans voters are registered in Virginia. But average Veteran voter turnout hovers below 60%. American Veterans Vote is dedicated to raising Veteran voter turnout to accomplish change through the ballot box. And, oh, what change is needed. What work is left to do! 

It's been a pretty tough several weeks – new and hostile alliances threaten national security, a Wall Street Journal survey announces American people pulling back from traditional values, a Heritage study finds an American military focused on distracting issues and losing public support, our grieving for Tennessee shooting victims becomes lost (again) in political theater, and nine Soldiers die in a terrible training accident.


  • Veterans understand national security at a gut level. All have served and all have sacrificed, some more than others. They can all relate personally to the costs and benefits, the rewards and risks, and the known and unknowns posed by mounting future threats. We all carefully watch the new alignment of potential enemies, the weakening of U.S. deterrence, and the march of technical challenges to our military strengths. And having all faced the decision to volunteer, re-up, separate or retire, we understand the deep meaning of an apparent collapse of military recruiting.


  • Veteran core values such as Patriotism, Religious belief, Tolerance for others, and Community involvement show dramatic decreases within the American public since the poll was first taken in 1998. Only 38% of respondents said patriotism was very important to them and 39% said religion was very important. In 1998, those numbers were 70% for patriotism and 62% for religion. Tolerance for others was deemed important by 80% of Americans in 2019 but sits at 58% now. The importance of community involvement as a core value has fallen from 61% to 23%. Younger respondents showed the greatest rate of decrease.


  • Veterans know the finite amount of training time within the high tempo of military service. There never seemed enough time to get everything done to ensure mission success. But somehow the job was completed, often at the cost of family or personal time. No real complaints. But the Heritage study found today’s additional training demands – the mandatory briefings, stand downs, surveys, and command inspections - focus on subjects that weaken, not strengthen the human elements underlying mission readiness.


  • Veterans feel issues affecting families deeply. The old saying that states you recruit Soldiers but you retain Families places emphasis where it properly belongs. The loss of children in the sanctuary of any classroom tears at the soul of those who stood in defense of this nation’s security. Something is failing. We must find real solutions that work and not dishonor the victims with more empty rhetoric.


  • Veterans recall the loss of their comrades and grimly understand the price paid in realistic training. The memories of memorial services, families grieving, friendships lost are always close in mind. It is a terrible price we pay to stand the watch.


AVV doesn’t presume all answers are found in the realm of politics or in the outcome of votes. But we do believe voting is a means to an end for positive and constructive changes. It also is by design an accountable record of promises, actions, and solutions. 


Such solutions to tough problems are not easy to find. But in all cases, strong leadership and collective action are two elements of the answer. So too are positive examples and constructive ideas. Hard is not impossible as an old first sergeant always told me. Where there are weak leaders, replace them. Where there is chaos, bring order. Step up, don’t step away. Unite, don’t divide. Adapt and overcome.


Sounds like another day down range, afloat, on the ready ramp, and airborne. Veterans Forward. We got this. Every Veteran, Every Vote.



Bob Wood

CEO, American Veterans Vote

LTG (R), US Army

Inspiration Corner

In Memory


Al Pianalto

On March 15, Al Pianalto, a great American, Air Force Veteran, and founding member of AVV passed away.

Prior to his association with AVV, Al worked tirelessly on behalf of political candidates at the federal, state, and local levels of government.

Known as "Mr. Data," Al dedicated countless hours curating Veteran data in support of the AVV mission.

For those who had the honor to work with him, colleagues described Al as a low key but focused hard-charger,

a supreme Veterans' advocate, a long-serving volunteer for public good, and a most splendid gentleman.

"The results of his concerted efforts were of inestimable benefit to Virginia's Veterans and their families" a close colleague somberly noted.

AVV members attending a memorial service for Al Pianalto

Al Pianalto will be truly missed and always remembered.

Rest In Peace

Loyal Soldier

By COL (R) Michael B. "Yama" Hoyes

I wonder if the following conversation happened the moment Al Pianalto passed from this life to the hereafter:

First, what Al in his soft spoken manner may have declared, paraphrased from 2Tim4:7 - "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith."

And the second is a response Al may have heard, paraphrased from Matt 3:17: "This is my son, Al, whom I love, with him I am well pleased."

As a teammate in this AVV journey, and as a fellow retired Veteran, I am so thankful for the relationship we’ve had with Al Pianalto, and for all that he did for our nation throughout his life.


Featured Article - Introducing AVV Unite

AVV Unite!


Michael Schoelwer

The website of AVV Unite, a 501c(4) organization, went live this week. AVV Unite was founded to examine - as a Veteran would, AVV’s key issues: National Defense, the Constitution as written and amended, and Military and Veterans families. It also serves to educate elected officials.

...what threatens us most is our own complacency...

Click Here To View AVV Unite

These have not been good times for the Republic. Domestically, we feel like we are witnessing a war on common sense. Yet, we know that destroying the democratic institutions that have nurtured our Republic for 247 years can only lead to the collapse of that which we have all sworn to uphold. Abroad, we are witnessing the solidification of tyrannies in the world. In the 1990’s, we thought that democracy had prevailed across the globe. However, we grossly underestimated the lure of absolute power.


We face grave threats, at home and abroad. However, the biggest dangers are not foreign missiles or a sub-rosa fifth column at home. Rather, what threatens us most is our own complacency, being content with activity disguised as a solution, or falling under the sway of charlatans who attempt to hijack Veterans’ votes by using labels and slander rather than ideas.


America's Veterans are uniquely well-suited to counter these grave threats and once again, defend the Republic. Only this time, service does not involve mounting up and going overseas again. Rather, it involves veterans voting and making their voices heard at the ballot box. Such action is likely not second nature to Veterans who focused on the mission during their service, and avoided politics for good constitutional reasons.

Nonetheless, military Veterans are uniquely well-qualified to fight this fight. We are the most culturally, religiously, and ethnically diverse group in the U.S. While we came from different starting points, our service bonded us together by a common patriotism, sense of service to the nation, and a common trust in each other. In other words, Veterans of all groups represent the values that are the United States.

AVV is dedicated to motivate Veterans to vote and to educate them on key issues through its issue papers. But AVV Unite will also use those issue papers to educate elected officials and to serve as the benchmarks for whether we endorse a candidate. Ultimately, we will give voice to those Veterans who otherwise would not be heard and, in the process, defend the United States once again.

AVV Regional Team Update

AVV Central Region (CDs 1 & 4)


The AVV Central Region is busy organizing activities. AVV stalwart and senior mentor Bill Flanagan has been very active in supporting member sign-up activities in the Colonial Heights and Chesterfield areas, and has signed up more than ten new members since the beginning of the year.

Bill organized AVV sign-up tables at the 4th CD Special Election in February, at a SD 12 Candidate Forum held by the Virginia Citizen Defense League in Colonial Heights on March 23, and through general networking and communications with Veterans and supporters in the area.

Bill is also working to support HD candidate Kim Taylor in her “focus district” HD 82 race. AVV is seeking Central Region leadership, especially important since the region has at least four focus district races identified so far - HDs 57, 58, 82, and SD 16. 

We were greatly saddened in March by the passing of AVV Founding Member and stalwart - “Dataman” Al Pianalto, a great Veteran and AVV member/officer.

AVV Southeast Region (CDs 2 & 3)


AVV Southeast Region held its initial meeting March 18th. Remarks by Congresswoman Jen Kiggans and State Senate Candidate Kevin Adams drove home the critical role Virginia’s Veteran voters play in determining outcomes in the Commonwealth. Bill Bunting and Michael Schoelwer engaged current AVV members and signed-up seven new members that morning.


Initial focus is executing contact operations for Veterans living in the second and third Congressional Districts. We are planning "Meet the Candidate" events prior to the start of early voting in September. A second meeting of our core group will take place in mid-April.

AVV NOVA East Region (CDs 7 & 8)


The AVV NOVA East regional team has been busy attending and representing AVV at local gun shows in Fredericksburg and in Doswell. Member sign up was outstanding and interest in AVV was strong. The message about the impact of early voting and information about voter registration for absentee ballots were welcome. Planning continues for our next meeting as we look for a venue in CD 8, this time with a bit more room for the growing set of members and new prospects. 

We’ve been contacted by a Veteran who’s interested in running for office in 2024 for the 7th CD. We are gladly providing insights on the district and connecting this prospective candidate to appropriate committees and leadership. 

AVV CEO Bob Wood and Paul Judge from the regional team attended a meeting of the Northern Virginia Republican Business Forum to hear Ted Cruz speak. Thanks go to AVV member Mary Campbell for this invitation. She’s a leader in this forum and is happy to connect AVV members to this activity.

AVV West Region (CDs 10 & 11)


The regional team continues to build its network across a range of candidates and campaigns. In the last 30 days, we’ve strengthened our contacts with:

  • Eddie Garcia, candidate for US Senate, Loudoun County
  • Juan Pablo Segura, candidate for VA Senate
  • Richard Waggoner, campaign manager for Juan Pablo Segura
  • Wren Williams, Delegate
  • Greg Mouthroup, candidate for VA Senate, District 32
  • Cheryl Rathjen, working for Mike Allers, candidate for VA Senate, District 28
  • Chris Harnisch, candidate for VA House, District 27

In all cases, we’ve introduced or expanded the understanding of AVV mission, goals, and practices. We’ve used our information papers to support discussions and we’re finding candidates very receptive of the content and insights. 

Future plans include outreach to all Veteran Service Organizations in our region to seek opportunities to promote Veteran voting. We are also expanding relationships with the many kindred organizations in Fairfax and Loudon county. We continue to build our full understanding of new political boundaries in the region as well.

Contact Your Elected Official

On April 12, the Virginia General Assembly will reconvene to consider Governor Youngkin's amendments and vetoes to ongoing legislation.

Have you contacted your lawmaker to let them know where you stand on the issues?

While officials are supposed to represent the interests and concerns of the people who elected them, opinion polls suggest a disconnect between citizens and their law makers. 

Speak up if you're unhappy with your elected officials' decisions or the direction of the country. They're supposed to work for you!

Constituents can keep elected officials tethered to them through engagement - both to criticize and to encourage. Lacking any direction from constituents, legislators may instead follow loud fringe voices, or a detrimental party agenda.

The websites below are a great place to start for a dialogue with your elected official:


·        For Virginia General Assembly members:

·        For the U.S. House of Representatives:

·        For the U.S. Senate:

These sites operate similarly – enter your address or zip code, and your elected official is revealed, usually with a link to their website. At the website, click on the “contact” link where you’ll fill out a contact form - name, address, phone number, etc. Then there’ll be a space for you to state your message, and specify whether you want a response to your concerns. You’ll also find links nearby to subscribe to the officeholder’s newsletters and e-mail updates.


    Some tips for contacting your lawmaker via their website:


·        Draft your message ahead of time and then copy and paste it into the space allotted at the website.

·        Keep your message concise, fact-based, professional, and snark-free.

·        Always request a response. This ensures that someone in the office read your message.

·        Subscribe to the newsletters and e-mail updates. Use these to keep apprised of each official’s political priorities and activities, and to provide critical or favorable feedback. 

The telephone is another option and is especially useful when a vote is upcoming for your elected official. Call your legislator’s office, identify yourself as a constituent, and state to the aide or staff member that you want it registered that in your opinion the legislator should do X or Y. You can find your legislators’ phone numbers via the websites listed above.


In either case – website or telephone, legislator staff members are supposed to track the number of messages they receive on various topics, and these can help sway the thinking of lawmakers.

One More Thing - Early Voting

Pssst! It's The Early Voters Who Win Elections

No need to wait for election day. AVV makes it easy for Veterans to vote early.

1. Go online to or use the QR code shown to the right.

2. Check your registration status and apply to vote Absentee by Mail.

3. Submit your “Vote by Mail” application form.

4. Receive your absentee ballot with candidate listing on DAY ONE of early voting and VOTE. 

American Veterans Vote, Inc. (AVV) is a volunteer team of Veterans and Civilian Mission Partners who led the Veteran Coalition for Glenn Youngkin. We are a 527 Political Action Committee with a nationally-focused mission to promote the political voice of Veterans and mission partners in support of our three key objectives:

  • Support of Veterans and their Families,
  • Defense of the Constitution, and
  • Promote Our Nation’s Security.

AVV’s goal is to help Veterans maximize their political voice by supporting Veterans’ ability to Vote, Volunteer and Run for Public Office.

"Every Veteran, Every Vote."

We don't speak FOR Veterans... we speak AS Veterans.

Visit our Website
Click Here For Archived 2021 Newsletters
Click Here For Archived 2022 Newsletters
Click Here For Archived 2023 Newsletters

Stay Connected to AVV

Facebook  YouTube