I am a veteran and graduate of West Point. I served 14 years in the Army, almost nine of those years overseas. Like many in the military, and many veterans, I’ve mostly considered myself an independent. I have voted for Republican, Democratic and independent candidates over the past 42 years. No longer.
I’m now saying, enough, it’s time to take a stand. I will be voting as a Democrat this year, and urge you to join me in supporting Leslie Cockburn for Congress in the 5th District and Tim Kaine for U.S. Senate.
Our president has denigrated genuine military heroes, such as Senator John McCain. He has dismissed our NATO allies and embraced other countries and leaders (Russia and Putin) that wish us no good.
Recently, the president has “joked” about the patriotism of our soldiers. To quote: “We are proudly giving our troops the biggest pay increase in a decade. And I know you don’t want it because you’re very patriotic. You’ll say, just save the money …. Does anybody not want it?... Are these real patriots? I don’t know, General ... if our soldiers were real patriots, they would not accept their new pay raise.”
I guess it’s pretty funny to joke about a pay raise for our soldiers, when we have many soldiers and their families on food stamps because they don’t make enough money. Not only did he “joke” about the soldiers’ patriotism, he also lied about the raise being the largest in a decade. In fact, there have been two pay raises in the past 10 years that are larger than the 2.6 percent this year.
In the Senate race, Corey Stewart’s courting of extremists is frightening to me as a Virginian. Stewart has shown that he will lie and misrepresent the truth repeatedly. Taking a page from Mr. Trump, he disparages and belittles those in his way. He did this in his campaign against Republican Ed Gillespie for governor last year, and against Nick Freitas in the Republican nominating contest for Senate this year.
In the 5th District congressional campaign, we seem to have the strangest Republican candidate of all, and he was a last-minute selection by the Republican Party. Personally, I’m tired of joke candidates. I’m tired of lies and misrepresentation. I’m tired of our politicians standing with extremists, and then saying it wasn’t what they really meant. I’m tired of many of our current Republicans talking out of both sides of their mouths about veterans and veterans affairs. The United States needs a strong and serious Republican Party. Unfortunately, we don’t have that right now.
Leslie Cockburn is just the opposite of this. She speaks the truth. She listens to what people are saying, including veterans in our communities. She understands the complexities of the world we live in. She honors our military and our veterans. Ms. Cockburn has outlined a veterans program which focuses on education, job training, and increased health benefits, including mental health.
Don’t take my word for it. Read the local and national news. Study and research the issues and the candidates. Think about who you want representing you in Washington. Then join me in supporting Leslie Cockburn and Tim Kaine this November.