Some of Iowa’s most prominent military veterans are showing solidarity behind GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The “Veterans for Romney” coalition boasts 128 members, including Governor Branstad, 11 retired generals, and Harold Johnson, who was a POW in Vietnam for almost six years. Two dozen members of the coalition gathered for a news conference at the State Capitol on Thursday.
In the wake of this week’s developments in the Middle East, the Romney campaign has placed foreign policy at the top of its agenda, at least at the moment. Curly Hultman, a retired major general in the Army Reserves, said veterans and the U.S. society as a whole are not better off than four years ago and he blames that on President Obama’s failed leadership.
“We need no more proof than the past 48 hours and what has happened in the Middle East and our North African coast of the Mediterranean,” Hultman said. “The militant Muslims continue to be a constant threat. Not just to our security, but clearly to the one ally that we know and understand and continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with. That, of course, is Israel.”
Hultman is also a former attorney general for the State of Iowa. He introduced Governor Branstad at the news conference and said that while Branstad was still a high school student, he served as a chairman for one of Hultman’s campaigns. Branstad was a sergeant in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War era. He also pointed to attacks on our embassy in Egypt and the consulate in Libya as evidence of President Obama’s failed foreign policy.
“When it comes to the strength of our military and rewarding our veterans for their sacrifice, Mitt Romney is clearly the best choice,” Governor Branstad said. “We need a leader that will not apologize about America’s leadership in the world. One of our challenges today is our enemies are emboldened because they think America is weak and is not willing to take a strong stand to protect the freedoms that we so cherish and enjoy.”
Also on the minds of the assembled veterans were the proposed cuts to the military budget, taking care of retirees and the economy as a whole. Branstad believes it is “unacceptable” the way veterans have struggled under the Obama administration and he knows Mitt Romney will do better.
“Governor Romney feels very, very strongly that we need to support our retirees and our veterans,” Dale Andres, a retired brigadier general in the U.S. Army. “With Governor Romney’s business acumen, he will be able to transition the veterans’ system to one that is patient care oriented.”
Among the attendees at the news conference were three Iowa House candidates who also served in the military: Jim Carley (HD 30), Jeff Ibbotson (HD 36) and Mike Brown (HD 40). House Representative Dwayne Alons, who is a retired major general in the Army National Guard, was also on hand.
Former U.S. attorney and U.S. Army Reserves Colonel Chuck Larson Sr. is the state chairman of Veterans for Romney. The group plans to reach out to other Iowa veterans and encourage them to vote for Romney, as well as Republicans up and down the ticket.
“We’ve got to stand firm and we’ve got to make sure with this election that we change the senate in this house and the senate of the United States of America, along with the presidency, in the interest of our fellow citizens,” Curly Hultman said.
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