Monday, May 26, 2008

Editorial Response to the Savannah Morning News: Bush, McCain and Kingston out of touch with the military and its families

It is very unfortunate that my May 19th Press Conference comments about Senator John McCain are being taken out of context by the Savannah Morning News. The stories published by them on the press conference have been unfair to the purpose and intent of the twenty-minute speech. My speech was about the need to take care of Veterans, and the need to increase some of their key benefits, particularly their education benefits under the New GI Bill. In my speech, I outlined possible reasons why Senator McCain opposed the New GI Bill. Congressman Jack Kingston does not support this bill either. Despite no support from McCain or Kingston, the New GI Bill passed the House and Senate and is awaiting President Bush’s signature. However, Bush says he will veto the bill.
As a 23-year Army veteran who’s served in Iraq, Germany and many other countries; as the former ROTC Director for southeast Georgia; and as a former Professor of Military Science at GSU, AASU, SCAD and SSU, I have seen first hand the plight of returning enlisted soldiers. Many struggle financially to support their families, and those who want to seek higher-education often find it hard to do so. The financial struggles are especially hard now at Ft. Stewart, where soldiers and their families are dealing with multiple deployments. I currently teach ‘transition classes’ at Ft. Stewart, which help soldiers retiring or getting out of the military be successful in the civilian work force. This New GI Bill, which would give them free access to a college degree, is the answer to their needs; it is their just reward.
As the Global War on Terror enters its seventh year, we need to offer our ‘all volunteer military’ better benefits for their service. War is what awaits all of them as they enlist. I am disappointed that Bush, McCain and Kingston do not understand this. They are out-of-step with the needs of our soldiers and their families. Time after time they choose to protect big business and special interests over the needs of the common people who serve. Americans and South Georgia should rebel against this. It is time our government puts people first. I ask President Bush, Senator McCain and Congressman Kingston to make sure the New GI Bill becomes law. Post WWII, every tax dollar spent on GI’s came back seven fold in tax revenue. It helped usher in an age of great American growth and prosperity for many deserving heroes. Our present day war heroes have earned this same type of treatment.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Press Conference: Pass The New GI Bill Now!

SAVANNAH, Ga. - Democratic Party of Georgia Chair Jane Kidd and candidate for U.S. House of Representatives Bill Gillespie today called on Republican John McCain to stand up for veterans by supporting the 21st Century G.I. Bill of Rights, introduced in the U.S. Senate by Democrat Jim Webb (D-Va.) The 21st Century GI Bill, if passed, would continue the legacy of the GI Bill by helping returning veterans obtain higher education in preparation for success in the private sector.
"Democrats believe in supporting our troops," Kidd said, "and that means sending them to war only when we have no other option, bringing them home when they've finished the job, and taking care of them and their families when they return. The 21st Century GI Bill helps the the newest generation of combat veterans obtain the education, prosperity and security that is such an important part of the American dream."
Gillespie said, "I'm running for Congress as a Democrat because I know our party has the commitment to take care of our veterans. "It's time for John McCain and Jack Kingston to stop playing politics with the future and well being of our veterans and their families. I know from experience that the GI Bill is one of the greatest achievements of our government, helping hundreds of thousands of veterans build a life after their military service. Now it's time to reinforce our commitment to the veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan."
McCain is visiting Savannah today, in hopes of raising almost half a million dollars for his presidential campaign. Democrats are calling on the Senator from Arizona to take advantage of his visit to take on a greater cause - standing up for veterans' benefits. The state of Georgia is home to a dozen active military bases, and has a large and thriving community of active-duty soldiers, reservists, National Guard personnel, and veterans. More than 50,000 veterans and active-duty personnel live in the 1st congressional district."Today, we're calling on Senator McCain to do right by our servicemen and women and take advantage of his appearance in Georgia to tell America that he supports the 21st Century GI Bill of Rights, and that he will be its biggest champion on the Senate floor," Kidd said. [See below for video highlights of this Press Conference].

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

GOP Leaders Warn of Election Disaster

Excerpt from the Politico: "Shellshocked House Republicans got warnings from leaders past and present Tuesday: Your party’s message isn’t good enough to prevent disaster in November, and neither is the NRCC’s money. The double shot of bad news had one veteran Republican House member worrying aloud that the party’s electoral woes — brought into sharp focus by Woody Jenkins’ loss to Don Cazayoux in Louisiana on Saturday — have the House Republican Conference splitting apart in everybody for himself mode." (Click here to read the news story in the Politico).

Friday, May 2, 2008

ALERT: Victory in the Democratic Primary!

Qualifying Week (April 28-May 2) has ended and no one has filed papers to challenge me in the First Congressional District Democratic Primary election. That means one election victory down, one more to go! Everyone is invited to my Victory Party on Sunday, May 4 from 2-4pm at Tybee Island's Memorial Park. You can click here to get more info and to RSVP online for the event. Come on out for some good food and fellowship and to celebrate our victory! This could not have been achieved without the outpouring of kindness and encouragement from so many. [UPDATE: see pictures from the event by clicking here.]