John Lira is a Mexican American veteran and public servant from San Antonio, Texas. From his first job as a busboy on the famous San Antonio Riverwalk, John fought on foreign battlefields, earned multiple degrees, and served in important roles in the federal government. John enlisted in the US Marine Corps right out of high school and served for 11.5 years on active duty and in the Marine Reserves, including two combat tours to Iraq. He was with the 1st Marine Division at the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and returned to Al Anbar Province, Iraq, in 2005 with the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines.
Wanting to further develop skills that would enable him to continue serving the country, John used his G.I. Bill to earn degrees from a local community college, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and a master’s degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.
Armed with the skills and passion for serving in government, John deployed to frontlines of public policy, Washington, DC, and in six years served in three federal agencies, including AmeriCorps, where he managed the agency’s veterans and military families portfolio, the U.S. Small Business Administration where he helped manage the Boots to Business veterans transition program, and on the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service where he helped write national policy recommendations to expand pathways to service opportunities for America’s youth.
In 2020, John served in Veteran Congressman Jimmy Panetta’s office as a legislative fellow, where he managed the national defense, international affairs, and veteran policy portfolios. Having witnessed the atrocities of war, the promise of higher education, and the importance of having diverse voices at the policymaking table, John is now committed to elevating the values and voices of the people of Texas’s 23rd congressional district.