Let me begin by thanking you for your service to our country. As a fellow veteran, I understand the sacrifices you have made. Thank you for making her a better and safer place.
The care of our veterans, troops on active duty, reserves, and National Guard - and their families - is an issue that is very close to my heart. Our country has an obligation to provide them the best care and resources available. Quite frankly, our government isn't doing enough. On the battlefields of Iraq, 11,700 vehicles only have the minimum armor on their vehicles. Forty percent of our deaths there have been attributed to the roadside bombs. Where's our country's focus? Additionally, in Spring 2005, Congress has cut veterans benefits by $176 million for 2006 alone, and $798 million over the next ten years. At the same time, they've given additional tax benefits for the ultra-wealthy by abolishing the estate tax to the tune of $290 billion over ten years. We are a nation at war and sacrifices should be expected. But these sacrifices must be made fairly.
George Washington once said, "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive how the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation." Whether it is the backdoor draft', where American patriots who signed up for three year commitments after 9/11/01 and now cannot leave the military, or the cuts in our veteran benefits noted above, the bottom line is America's most precious resource, her sons and daughters, aren't rushing to volunteer for military service. The Marine Corps and our Army cannot meet the recruitment goals needed for keeping our nation safe. This is a serious problem.
We need our congressmen and congresswomen to show our troops and veterans the dignity and respect that they've earned! Today, only 28% of our congressmen and congresswomen have military service. In the early 1970's, approximately 75% of them had served in the military. I am dedicated to the 58,000 veterans in my district and across the nation. I pledge to continue to fight for them but I need your help by passing along my website, volunteering to take action, and by donating to this campaign. Please stand with me today as one of your own takes up this fight.