Combat-ready | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Combat-ready

Posted By on Thu, Sep 14, 2006 at 1:10 PM

Long before I received Gunner DeLay's promised release attacking opponent Dustin McDaniel's record on veterans issues, I had McDaniel's response. It's on the jump. UP?DATE: Now I have Gunner's, too: Advantage McDaniel.

DELAY NEWS RELEASE

Little Rock, AR. - Today Gunner DeLay, republican candidate for attorney general, held a press conference near the Viet Nam memorial at the State Capitol to announce a plan he wants to implement as attorney general that will assist veterans as they return home from active duty.  He is calling the plan “Project Freedom” and said the purpose behind the program is for the attorney general’s office to be a conduit of information and assistance to veterans. 

DeLay explained that he plans to establish a statewide toll free number so veterans can call and have their questions answered about how to access state and federal benefits, including their right to re-employment.  He also plans to create an interactive web page that can provide the same information via the internet.  DeLay commented, “The idea is to designate certain members of my staff that will be well versed on veterans’ issues that can respond to a variety of questions about veterans’ rights.”  He said he also wants to develop a referral service for private attorneys that would be willing to handle veterans’ legal matters on a pro bono basis.  Finally, he said he would push for a law in the next session that would allow veterans who are called up into active duty to terminate their residential lease.   

DeLay remarked, “It is critically important that we remember our veterans and the sacrifices they have made for our country.  That is why things like the Viet Nam memorial are so important.  It is a reminder of what they have done.  I feel that ‘Project Freedom’ will be just one more way we can honor our veterans.”

DeLay contrasted his position concerning veterans’ issues with his opponent’s.  “As we know, Mr. McDaniel was one of the representatives that voted to give tax payer funded scholarship money to illegal aliens.  That vote would have been bad enough by itself, but then he refused to support SB 466 which gave children of disabled veteran’s free tuition at state colleges and universities.   I’m not sure how he can look a disabled veteran in the eye and tell that person that his vote for illegal aliens is more important than supporting the brave men and women who sacrifice themselves for this country?”

DeLay also pointed out that McDaniel did not vote in favor of HB 2819 which established a specialized license plate for disabled veterans and he did not support HB 1388 which was the appropriation bill for the State Military Department.  Part of the appropriation bill was for $1.9 million dollars to construct a maintenance facility in his own district, and $3.6 million was to help Camp Robinson meet federal anti-terrorism requirements. “Clearly, there is a pattern in Mr. McDaniel’s voting record that is hostile to veterans and our military.  How can a person call themselves a patriot if they do not support our men and women in uniform?”    

MCDANIEL RELEASE

VETERANS DEFEND MCDANIEL’S PATRIOTISM;

Blast Opponent's Rhetoric

LITTLE ROCK – Surrounded by some of the most decorated and respected veterans in Arkansas, State Representative and candidate for attorney general Dustin McDaniel responded to his opponent’s latest demagoguery.  Speaking on McDaniel’s pro-veteran stance were Col. Jerry Bowen, U.S. Army (ret.) and former undersecretary for Veterans Affairs, Major General Jack Ryan, U.S. Army (ret.) and former Adjutant General of the Arkansas National Guard, Col. John Edwards, U.S. Army Reserves, and Capt. Jeff Wood, Staff Judge Advocate and State Representative (D-Sherwood).

Col. Jerry Bowen of Jonesboro said, “As former Undersecretary of Veterans Affairs, I have made it my life’s work to advocate for veterans.  I know patriotism when I see it, and Dustin is a patriot.  For his opponent to say otherwise is atrocious.” 

Col. John C. Edwards of Little Rock, a veteran of the war in Iraq, said “In combat, the first thing you learn is to positively identify friend from foe.  Dustin McDaniel is a friend.  Before my unit left for Iraq, Dustin, as a board member of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA) supported free legal assistance for soldiers and their families to be provided by volunteers from ATLA.  This was of great benefit to our soldiers and their families.   When my unit returned from Iraq, Dustin, along with Governor Mike Huckabee, and Senators Lincoln and Pryor, advocated that returning Arkansas National Guard soldiers be given additional time off to rest before coming off military orders.  Dustin wrote a letter to the Secretary of Defense and got all 100 House members to sign it, urging that regulations be changed to allow this to happen.”

Capt. Jeff Wood of Sherwood said, “Dustin supported every single bill that came before the House of Representatives, including the legislation regarding tuition assistance and funeral protection.  Veterans couldn’t ask for a better friend in the legislature or the Attorney General’s office than Dustin McDaniel.”  McDaniel co-sponsored Wood’s bill during this year’s special session to protect the honor of fallen heroes at their funerals.

General Jack Ryan of Hot Springs Village said, “Dustin has always been a huge supporter of our military and our veterans.  He supported every pro-veteran and pro-military bill that was introduced.  Dustin McDaniel has always been and will always be a friend to us, and deserves to be recognized as a patriot.  For anyone to say otherwise is outrageous.”

Also in attendance were 1st Lt. Alice Ryan, U.S. Army (ret.) and Capt. Bruce Annible, Staff Judge Advocate in the Arkansas National Guard.

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