Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Iowa Front: Military & Veterans’ Weekly Roundup

Veterans/Political Fronts

“Democrats Endeavor to Show Strength on Defense”: The Democratic presidential candidates have been tapping into Iowa veteran’s unease about the policies under President Bush’s administration, while a number of veterans have switched their allegiances to the Democrat Party. The GOP has traditionally garnered the vet vote, but they can no longer take this bloc of voters for granted. Ray Bagg, a Vietnam veteran from Des Moines, who considered himself to be a Republican when he first returned home from Vietnam, said the notion that advocates of a change in strategy in Iraq are weak on defense is "b.s.” "I'm getting to the point where I want to be rebellious," said Bagg, 61. "I'm just angry." (Des Moines Register)

“Clinton v. Obama, Veterans Version”: This week, the "Commission on Care of America's Wounded Warriors" issued recommendations for improving treatment for veterans who return injured from the front. Clinton's proposal would amend the Family and Medical Leave Act -- one of the first major bills of her husband's presidency -- to allow up to six months leave for eligible relatives of service members with combat-related injuries. Meanwhile, Obama passed around his own pitch, providing a full year of job protection, and, as an email from Obama's Senate office points out, "unlike FMLA, which only covers spouses, parents, and children, the Military
Family Job Protection Act covers siblings who are caring for recovering service members." (Washington Post Blog)

“Richardson Begins Airing ‘Heroes’ Ads in Iowa”: Touting his record as New Mexico's governor and commander-in-chief, Gov. Bill Richardson released his latest television ad in Iowa. The ad, "Heroes," highlights Richardson's support for veterans and how he led the national effort to raise the death benefits for the families of fallen soldiers. During campaign stops in Iowa, Richardson said he would give all veterans a "Heroes Health Card" that would allow them to receive health care wherever they need it. Currently, veterans are required to access their health benefits at designated veterans' hospitals, which creates an accessibility burden for those veterans who don't live near them. (Iowa Independent)

Military/Political Front

“Politicians Line Up Behind Friends and Families to Salute Return of Iowa’s 133rd Infantry”: Having completed the longest combat posting that any Iowa unit has served since World War II, the 640 National Guard soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry returned Wednesday to Iowa. After spending nearly two years on active duty, 17 months of which were in Iraq, the Ironman Battalion's soldiers were greeted by an estimated 8,000 people at Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo. Meanwhile, Iowa's political delegation offered their gratitude by honoring the 133rd from the nation's capital. (Iowa Independent)


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