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Experience Counts

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Experience Counts

This past Saturday, at the LD 26 monthly meeting held at the Metro Water District Building on La Canada, candidate for AZ Mine Inspector, Joe Hart addressed the crowd and eloquently explained why he should be elected. He touted his his 10 years of experience in the Arizona legislature as being one of the justifications.

When he was done, a citizen from the audiences asked him, "Time in the legislature is fine, but what make's you qualified to be a mine inspector, do you have any experience in mining?

Joe quickly responded that he spent 20 years working for Duval Mining Corporation as well as his experience as the Safety Supervisor. The citizen that asked the question seemed pleased that the candidate actually had "real world experience" that directly related to the office he was seeking.

I found this quite intriguing since I've been in dozens of forums and spoke with literally thousands of people and never once heard the question posed to a candidate for Congress, "What makes you qualified to be my Congressman, do you have any experience that you would apply to the job?"

I've heard, "Why should I vote for you?" "What will you do when you get to Washington?" "What makes you better than the other guys in the race?" "Why do you want to be a Congressman?" and so on.

I think the voters out there really need to start asking the question about experience, because the answer is very telling. I saw a bit of this come out at the Foothills Republican Women's forum this past week. Issue after issue that arose, it seemed that many of the answers given by my competitors seemed to contain the verbs: talked, studied, spoke with, read about, knew someone that…, etc. While my answers contained verbs like: did, worked, participated in, etc.

To be more specific, one candidate mentioned his comprehensive "Border Security Plan" and how he developed it by "talking" to border patrol agents and county sheriffs. Another candidate mentioned he championed prop 200 and submitted legislation to deal with the immigration issue while in Phoenix. Yet another candidate, one endorsed by the "open borders and amnesty" crowd, and while in the state legislature opposed prop 200 and any legislative effort to curb illegal immigration, suddenly found the courage to mention he would now get tough on the border because of the terrorism threat but didn't mention specifics.

I answered simply with, "Having done border security and having trained and worked along side border patrol agents, this is what I would do…"

The national security and terrorism question brought more of the same. The other candidates did a lot of talking but only one had actually fought in the War on Terror, hunted terrorists, knew the tactics of our enemy, knew what equipment our troops need and the tactics needed for us to win because he himself had done so. That candidate was me.

Healthcare, lots of good ideas abound, but once again, only one candidate has a healthcare degree, worked as a paramedic and knows the healthcare system inside and out because he worked in it. Again that candidate was me.

It seemed the responses to issue after issue applied two principles. There are those that talked the talk, but only one that walked the walk.

Even on side issues like supporting 2nd Amendment rights. One candidate proclaimed his A+ rating from the NRA as qualification, yet when it comes to reality, it too is just talk. If you were to do a golf club to gun analysis of candidates, only one would stand out: Frank Antenori.

I don't own any golf clubs, but as an avid hunter, outdoorsman and conservationist, I own several guns and I live the 2nd Amendment every time I take my kids hunting or to the range. I take pride having defended the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as a soldier, not once, not twice, but three times in combat. All you have to do is look at everyone's website to see which candidate would be the best defender of the 2nd Amendment. Only one has pictures of himself hunting and proudly holding firearms. Again that candidate is me.

When you have a hole in your roof, do you call a plumber? No you call a roofer. When it comes to selecting your congressman, why would you not apply the same principle? So, when you're trying to decide who to vote for this September 12th, think long and hard and ask yourself: Who is the candidate best qualified to be your Congressman?

To protect you from terrorists, who do you call? Do you call a professional politician or a Washington insider? No, you call a counter-terrorist expert. A guy with experience in fighting the war on terror, a guy that spent the better part of his life training and applying the skills needed to defeat this enemy...Frank Antenori.

When it comes to making decisions about healthcare, who do you call, someone that has to listen to lobbyists and consultants to make a decision? Or do you call a guy with a degree in Health Science and an emphasis toward pre-med. A man that has 10 years experience as a paramedic, working in New York and San Antonio, as well as rural areas? I think it's pretty obvious...Frank Antenori.

When it comes to border security, do you want a guy that "talked" to border patrol agents, one that hung out with the minutemen, or spent the afternoon riding around in a car with the Cochise County Sheriff making decisions in Washington on your behalf to secure our border?

Or would you rather prefer a guy that spent a year, sitting on the tops of mountains with a radio in his hand and his eye pressed into the eyepiece of a high power thermal sensor; guiding Federal and State law enforcement officers to apprehend people that were crossing our borders. A guy that trained border patrol agents in surveillance techniques and the equipment used to secure the border. A man that didn't read about the latest state of the art equipment, but actually spent years using it. How about a guy, whose job as a Green Beret, was to sneak across the borders of other countries. Do you think he might know a few ways to prevent people from sneaking into ours? I think it's pretty obvious who is better qualified...Frank Antenori.

There are many more issues, where I have a lot of experience. I spent three months in Africa treating hundreds of people infected with HIV and TB. I trained and advised the Botswanan military to secure their borders from Namibian poachers that were coming across to shoot elephants and rhinos for their tusks and horns; a program that remains effective to this day.

I did counter drug operations in Pakistan and the United States to prevent drugs from reaching our streets. In the 1995 I participated in Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) review of Ft Campbell, Kentucky, where I learned first hand what the BRAC looks for and what we need to protect Davis-Monthan and Fort Huachuca from future BRAC reviews.

I'm a military veteran, like almost 1/5th of the population in Southern Arizona. Who better to look out for our veterans than a three time combat veteran, a military retiree, and partially disabled veteran himself?

The list goes on and on. No other candidate has the background and first hand experience needed in the key issues facing our country, our state, and the people of the 8th district.

Unfortunately, as we all know in politics, it isn't experience alone that wins elections; it also takes money, grass roots support and word of mouth.

That's why I'm asking for your help. Tell your friends, co-workers, relatives and anyone you meet that there's a different candidate in this race; one with real experience. Tell them to go my website, see what I stand for and what I believe, but most of all, tell them to "vote for Frank" on Election Day, September 12th.

I hope to see you at the forum tomorrow, August 14th, in Oro Valley at the Church of the Nazarene, 500 W. Calle Concordia. The forum starts at 6:30 pm.

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