Honesty, Integrity Needed in Government. By Angie Paccione - 11/13/2005

Honesty, Integrity Needed in Government
Guest Commentary
by Angie Paccione

Greeley Tribune, Nov. 13, 2005

VETERANS DAY IS one of our nation's most important holidays. It is on this day that we honor and remember all the veterans who have fought for the U.S. armed services throughout our nation's great history.

Veterans Day -- Nov. 11 -- is the day that the Armistice was signed in 1918 ending World War I. A year later, in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued his Armistice Day proclamation. The last paragraph of his proclamation set the tone for future observance:

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nation."

Thirty-five years later, in 1954, an Act of Congress created our official Veterans Day holiday that we now honor throughout the United States.

While it is a day for celebrating and honoring our veterans, it is also a day for judging how well our elected officials have honored their commitment to veterans. Unfortunately, I must report to you that our current congresswoman, Marilyn Musgrave, has done a very poor job of honoring America's military personnel and veterans. During her three years in Congress, Musgrave's voting record reveals some extremely disturbing trends:
  • Musgrave voted against a measure that would increase health care benefits for veterans.
  • Musgrave voted against a measure that would expand health care programs for men and women in the National Guard and Reserve.
  • Musgrave voted against a measure that would give both retirement and disability benefits to veterans.
  • Musgrave voted against a measure to increase job-training programs for returning veterans.

At the same time that Musgrave has voted against Colorado's war veterans, she has consistently voted to give tax breaks and government handouts to extremely wealthy people and corporate special interests. Most recently, for example, Musgrave and her allies inserted government subsidies in the energy bill that gave oil companies record profits (almost $100 billion last quarter) while veterans and average Americans paid $3 a gallon for gas.

Colorado has more than 427,000 veterans and more than 2,200 residents fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. I ask you this: How in the world can we look these heroic men and women in the eye and tell them they can't have adequate health care and job training, but we can give billions of dollars in government handouts to the oil industry?

Musgrave's voting record against veterans is just the tip of the iceberg. She and her allies are out of touch with America's everyday concerns. The current federal leadership is embroiled in scandals and corruption at the highest level, and ordinary Americans -- and our veterans and soldiers -- are suffering because of it.

I am running for Congress in Colorado's 4th Congressional District to restore honesty, integrity and accountability to government. Throughout my last three years of serving in Colorado's state House of Representatives, I have brought bipartisan, honest leadership to our state government. I have worked extremely hard to honor and fight for Colorado's families and military personnel.

America's veterans are our heroes. They have given us our freedom and opportunities. They deserve our full and unconditional support when they return from the battlefield.

As President Wilson suggested in 1919, I ask that we all please reflect with "solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory." I ask that we begin a new battle to restore honesty and integrity to government.

Angie Paccione is Colorado's House representative for District 53 in Fort Collins and is running for Congress in Colorado's 4th Congressional District, which includes all of Weld County.

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