On Day 3 of 27 Stop "Checklist for Change" Tour, Cantwell and Washington Veterans Call for Change in the National Agenda to Support Veterans and Defend Our Nation
Cantwell's Biodiesel Bus Tour Makes Stops in Tacoma, Aberdeen, Shelton and Bremerton - 854 miles in First 3 Days
Cantwell Accepts Endorsement of Veterans of Foreign Wars Political Action Committee in Tacoma; Veterans for Cantwell has Members in Each of Washington's 39 Counties
On Friday, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell continued her statewide "Checklist for Change" tour with stops in Tacoma, Aberdeen, Shelton and Bremerton, where she talked about the need to change the nation's agenda to support Washington veterans and secure our nation. Cantwell is traveling across the state this week on the biodiesel-powered "Cantwell's Checklist for Change" bus, making 27 stops, at least one in every Congressional district. By the end of day three, Cantwell will have traveled 854 miles of over 2,100 miles on the tour.
"I will never back down from my responsibility to help keep our nation safe," said Cantwell. "Protecting America means giving our armed services, first responders, border guards, and port security officials the tools, policies, and leadership they need to succeed. As a nation, we've been made strong by the battles our men and women in uniform fought abroad. Today, we're ready to fight again, for a new direction here at home. The Republican Congress has turned a cold shoulder to so many hard-working Washington veterans struggling just to get by. They deserve better than that, and that's why I'm fighting for change. We deserve better than a rubberstamp Republican Congress simply going along with this administration's shortsighted agenda."
All day Friday, Cantwell, Washington veterans, and local community leaders rallied with Washingtonians about the importance of standing up to support veterans and secure our nation. In Tacoma, Cantwell accepted the official endorsement of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Political Action Committee, who endorsed Cantwell for her support for veterans, national security and defense, and military personnel issues.
"Senator Cantwell understands the needs of veterans in our country," said Lloyd A. Boroughs, a veteran of Vietnam. "Senator Cantwell realizes the sacrifices those serving in the military make, and she believes that we have an obligation to veterans, not just for the first few years they're out of the military, but for life. Senator Cantwell's support of programs like the G.I. Bill for Life and concurrent receipt for disabled veterans show that she has the right priorities. She also has my vote."
The VFW Political Action Committee included input from local VFW members before making their endorsement. More than one in every ten Washingtonians is a veteran - the sixth highest percentage in the country. Cantwell has worked to protect health care and expand education opportunities for the more than 670,000 veterans who live in Washington state.
"When this administration decided they were going to close VA hospitals in our state, Senator Cantwell worked to stop it," said Harvey Brooks, the regional command for the National Association for Black Veterans. "There are 76,000 visits to the Walla Walla VA every year. The administration was going to shut that hospital down, as well as ones in Tacoma and Vancouver, leaving only two for the entire state. Senator Cantwell stepped in and said no, we're not going to stand for that. She stood up for veterans all over Washington state, and she will continue standing up for us, because that's the kind of leader we have in Senator Cantwell."
On national security and defense, Cantwell knows that our government's highest priority must be to keep all Americans safe. She takes that responsibility very seriously and has worked tirelessly to secure our America's borders, critical infrastructure, complex transportation systems, and make sure our first responders have the tools and resources they need to keep our communities safe. Cantwell has worked to secure Washington's ports by advocating screening of cargo containers at foreign ports before they depart for the U.S. To protect our northern border, Cantwell has successfully secured funding to triple the number of inspectors and agents stationed on the northern border, is working to get unmanned aircraft deployed along the northern border to supplement patrols, and banning tunnels under our borders. She is also working to help small communities along the northern border deal with the high cost of prosecuting federal border crimes. Cantwell knows that our first responders need resources to do their jobs as effectively as possible, and has fought back against a Bush administration proposal to cut back counter-terrorism funding for state and local law enforcement.
"Senator Cantwell has earned my respect and loyalty because of her work on behalf of Washington veterans and their families," said Larry Seaquest, a retired Navy Captain and the Chair of the State Veterans' Incentives Program. "Senator Cantwell has worked to protect health care and education programs that the Bush administration has tried to cut funding to, and she has stood up and fought to make sure that we're taking care of our soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan."
In August, veterans from each of Washington's 39 counties endorsed Cantwell for re-election and formally launched Veterans for Cantwell at an event in Tacoma with Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI). Veterans for Cantwell praised Cantwell's work fighting for them to get affordable, quality health care, expanded educational opportunities, and fair survivor benefits for military widows and families. The Cantwell campaign has worked with veterans around the state to get out the word on Cantwell's record and encourage veterans to vote for Cantwell with veterans-to-veterans organizing.
Cantwell's Checklist for Change calls for a new agenda in Washington, DC to change the course in Iraq; cut health care and prescription drugs costs; protect Social Security from privatization; deliver energy independence with technology and alternative fuels; make college education affordable for everyone; secure our borders and ports; stand up for veterans, military and their families; protect our environment for our children; deliver tax fairness for our state; and put us first, and special interests last.
"I served with Maria for five years in the Washington State House, and she impressed me from day one," said Douglas Sayan of Shelton, a World War II veteran of the U.S. Navy. "She was one of the most thorough legislators I've ever worked with - she studied the issues, put a great deal of thought into every decision, and she didn't worry about trying to draw a lot of attention to herself or care who got credit. She was just there to do the work the people elected her to do. I'm not surprised Maria's been a great Senator for our state during her first term, and I expect even more in her second."
In this final week before Election Day, Cantwell is working hard to get out the vote for Democrats up and down the ticket to help change the agenda in Washington, D.C.
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