CITY & STATE: ON THE FRONT LINES: GREG BALL

 

    BY MATTHEW HAMILTON

    For state Sen. Greg Ball, service is a way of life.

    Service and the rigorous environment the armed forces provide are why he chose to attend a military academy—a physically and mentally demanding academic path that instilled in him skills and perspective that he has subsequently applied to politics and government.

    Ball attended Valley Forge Military Academy, the last all-male military academy in the country at the time, before moving to the United States Air Force Academy, from which he graduated in 2001. He later received his master’s degree from Georgetown University.

    “I love this country and believe in service as a way of life,” Ball said. “The service academies are physically, mentally and academically challenging, and I was drawn to that rigorous environment.”

    Making the leap to politics was a move Ball had an interest in since the 1992 presidential election, when he was involved with the United We Stand America movement led by Ross Perot, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.

    “I knew since that age that I would run for political office to try to have an impact on this crazy world,” Ball said.

    A run for the Assembly in 2007 netted Ball more than 70 percent of the vote, vaulting him into the realm of Albany politics. The contentious arena of the state Capital not only allowed Ball to continue his life of service but also gave him an opportunity to use the lessons of his military training, which he continues to draw upon today as a state senator. His training provided the basis for the way he runs his office, where the values of competence, loyalty and mutual respect are central to its operation, he says.

    “My military training, especially the intensity at the Academy, prepared me for all the crap that comes with running for office,” Ball said. “I learned to focus on what is important, to prioritize and execute triage, and to move the mission forward without distraction. I always had dreams of serving in public office, and really changing things for the better. … My hope was to make a positive difference in the lives of others, and I sleep well at night now knowing that while I haven’t changed the world, I at least achieve that.” (ARTICLE)