Bobby Bones wants to help bridge the massive divide in U.S. politics and "open up" the hard party lines that have developed in this country. The Bobby Bones Show host opened up in our new series PopCulture @ Home about his dream of running for governor of his home state of Arkansas, revealing how he's already getting involved in the political process even now.
After "a lot of conversations" about returning home to run for office, Bones says he's been "cramming" to learn everything he can about state and federal law. "If [the political campaign is] not now, maybe it'll be again in six years or maybe never," he continues. "A lot was given to me as a kid or I wouldn't be here, you know? I didn't have the best background, but thankfully a lot of people stepped up, and I think it's my job to step up now for others. It may be through politics; it may not be."
Looking at the political landscape before him, the Dancing With the Stars winner hopes his background growing up with "extreme southern sensibilities" before becoming "a bit progressive" as an adult would help people find a genuine good-faith debate. "I think that people have been trained that you have to, for sure, dig in on one side or the other," he tells PopCulture.com. "All I want to do is open up the idea that 'Hey, you may be on a side, but you don't have to dig in. You don't have to attach yourself to one side because of one issue. Let's talk about it, and if you still feel that way after we go through a few things, then I get it, and you should.'"
Because of his background and his values now, Bones thinks he can be the person that "pulls folks together" more during this tough time. "So maybe that's this grand vision that only I have about myself, but if I don't believe it, nobody else will," he continues.
Even with a possible run being years away, Bones is stepping inside the political realm to help pass the PAWS for Veteran Therapy Act, which was passed by the House in February and is awaiting Senate approval. Partnering with Purina Dog Chow's Service Dog Salute, the American Idol mentor wants to help connect veterans in need of a service dog with the resources they need to get one. "So many of our vets have been over, and they fought, and they come back, and a lot of them have PTSD, or they have other issues and service dogs ... help them so much in adjusting back to a normal life," he explained. "The thing is — service dogs, they're about $20,000 apiece."
With less than 1 percent of veterans in need able to afford a service dog, Purina is raising money to purchase dogs for veterans. If you buy a specially-marked bag from now through Thanksgiving, Purina will make a donation, up to $100,000, to their two partner service dog organizations: the Pets and Vets program at Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation and Got Your Six Support Dogs. For more information on the Service Dog Salute, and to sign a letter to your senator supporting the PAWS for Veteran Therapy Act, click here.