Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Iowa Front: Military & Veterans’ Weekly Roundup

As families gather for this holiday weekend to celebrate and honor the “working man,” I hope they’ll include the men and women working for us in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would like to take this moment to pay tribute to one such person, Master Sgt. Scott Carney of Ankeny, who was laid to rest Friday. Carney, age 37, was killed in Afghanistan Aug. 24, when his Humvee rolled over in a convoy near Herat, while serving with the Iowa Army National Guard’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division. Carney is the 20th member of the Iowa Army National Guard and the 60th soldier with Iowa ties to die while serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since March 2003. Carney is survived by his wife, Jeni, and their two twin sons, Jacob and Justin. (Des Moines Register)

A recently released Gallup poll shows that the military veterans’ presidential preferences closely mirror the national polls. With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan expected to be waged through next year’s November election, the candidates have targeted military veteran voters, which comprise roughly one out of every six Americans. These efforts, however, have yet to show any major impact in the polls thus far.

Another reason why the candidates are attempting to shore up support from veterans, is that most of them have not served in the military themselves and a strong veteran endorsement will help validate their support of the troops. A few interesting anomalies in the poll did manifest. On the Republican side, Arizona Sen. John McCain, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, received a high favorable rating by veterans, but this favorability did not translate to solid preferential ratings when compared to his Republican rivals. Conversely, on the Democrat side, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton received low favorability ratings among veterans, but she received the highest preferential rating among her competitors, thus indicating that veterans are weighing more factors than just military and veterans’ issues. (Gallup Poll News Service)

As Congress prepares to reconvene Tuesday, a number of bills affecting military members and veterans await. One of these bills, the Joshua Omvig Suicide Prevention Act, is one such bill; however, a hold was placed on the bill by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who cited issues concerning the second amendment as the reason for his hold. (Iowa Independent)

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