Politicker ME - "I Am Ruth Summers' Husband': CD1 Candidate Summers Attends His First Campaign Event"
It was a small event, but nonetheless a fitting venue for Charlie Summers' first event on the campaign trail.
Summers, a Republican First Congressional District candidate, participated in a candidates' forum Monday night at a veterans' home in his home town, Scarborough.
Summers returned home from Iraq Saturday evening, and spent most of Monday filing the necessary paperwork to get off active duty. For the past nine months his wife, Ruth Summers, has stood in for him on the campaign trail.
Campaign volunteers are still in the process of planning out the next few weeks before the June 10 primary.
At the forum each candidate was asked three questions about military and veterans' issues, one question about the economy and one question about illegal immigrants. It was a small event - there were less than 10 people in the audience that were not part of the six campaigns represented.
But first all the candidates welcomed Summers home -- most pointing out the oddity of having Ruth Summers in the audience instead of on stage.
"It's great to be here and look out to see Ruth Summers in the audience," said Democrat Adam Cote, also an Iraq War veteran. "She's turned into a fantastic candidate on her own."
"I have to be the only woman up here now," joked Democrat Chellie Pingree.
Summers was the last to give an opening statement.
"I am Ruth Summers' husband," he began. The group laughed. "I just can't tell you how happy and pleased I am to be here tonight. I'd like to say I've travelled a long way to get here tonight, and I really have, it's been kind of a whirlwind in the last 48 hours."
He added: "In this country we have economic issues, we have great debt, but we have no greater debt than the debt we owe to the great men and women who wear the cloth of this nation. I stand here tonight to make a commitment to fight for full funding for the VA, and fight for mandatory funding for the VA, because I feel that strongly that we owe that debt to those men and women that have served in Iraq and have served in Afghanistan and are coming back with mental health issues, are coming back with missing limbs, are coming back after being burned. We have a responsibility to stand up for these people."
Veterans are an important voting bloc in CD1. All six candidates at the forum - Democrats Chellie Pingree, Adam Cote, Mark Lawrence and Steve Meister and Republicans Dean Scontras and Summers - acknowledged the importance of serving veterans. Cote, Summers, and Meister, a Gulf War veteran, all talked about their time in the service. Scontras, Lawrence and Pingree talked about relatives who have served.
"The war in Iraq has been won," Summers said. "We have the fire power over there to do whatever we need to do. The question before us is winning the peace."
"We need not to defund operations in Iraq. What we need to do is focus on the next movement. I say that next movement is a peace surge. What we need to do is give people the ability to take care of their families, to live in relative peace, and to be able to earn a living."