Letter To The Editor: Colgan, Jenkins Praise Connolly's Work For Veterans

By: Sen. Charles Colgan and Supervisor John Jenkins | Inside NoVA 
Published: November 03, 2012

We write to endorse Congressman Gerry Connolly for re-election. We do so proudly as veterans of the Army and Army Air Corps/Air Force with a combined 70 years of experience in public service to our nation and to our community. 

We appreciate that Congressman Connolly has applied the ethos “all politics is local” to fighting for our nation’s veterans and active-duty military personnel. He understands that briefings at the Pentagon do not fully illustrate the plight of our service members. Instead, he also does his homework by joining veterans for breakfast at VFW Post 1503 in Dale City and other local venues, meeting personally with active-duty military families, and spending time with servicemembers here at home and on deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Tenacious advocacy, responsive leadership, and getting things done were hallmarks of Gerry Connolly's 18-year tenure as our colleague in Northern Virginia government, and he has carried that approach to the House of Representatives.

We know from personal experience that Congressman Connolly can be counted on to act decisively on behalf of the men and women fighting for our country. During a meeting with Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in Prince William, Gerry learned of the fees and penalties some service members were paying to cancel cell phone contracts, leases, and other obligations after they were called up for deployment. He took action and introduced the Helping Active Duty Deployed Act to end abusive practices that penalize service members deployed to fight for our nation and the families they leave behind. He worked diligently to win bipartisan support and passage of the bill.

When an active-duty military family hard hit by diminished home values shared their story with Gerry, they received more than a pat on the back and a sympathetic ear. Instead, they found an ally in their congressman, who learned that many servicemembers suffered substantial financial lost when they received change of station orders and were forced to sell their homes below market value, often for a loss. To help those military families, Gerry introduced legislation to expand the Department of Defense's Homeowner Assistance Program to provide a level of financial security and peace of mind to those serving our nation.

Gerry Connolly also sponsored a bipartisan amendment to protect service members, disabled veterans and surviving spouses from foreclosure, and worked with Senator Jim Webb and a bipartisan coalition of House members to fund the Post-9/11 GI Bill to provide 745,000 veterans and their dependents with tuition assistance.

Some of Gerry Connolly's work for veterans has been up-close and personal. When he learned about a Vietnam veteran from Woodbridge, a helicopter pilot who had never received his medals for two heroic rescues of colleagues in Vietnam and Laos, he took action. And 39 years after that pilot risked his life and ignored his own wounds to rescue his fellow servicemembers, Gerry Connolly presented him with the Silver Star and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

When one of our servicemembers is killed in action, Gerry Connolly is on the phone with the family, expressing the gratitude of our nation and offering assistance in their time of tragedy and need.

The Military Officers Association of America has given Gerry Connolly a 100 percent  rating for his support of a strong national defense and the welfare of active-duty military and veterans. Gerry also received the national "Friends of Military Kids" award for his efforts to provide tangible support for the children of deployed personnel and severely injured servicemembers.

Veterans and active-duty military personnel need someone in Congress who understands that for most who served, veterans issues are very personal issues that affect their quality of life and that of their families.Gerry Connolly understands that these are neighborhood issues just as much as they are national issues.

Our men and women who serve and have served can count on Gerry Connolly to have their best interests at heart and be there when they need help. Please join us and other veterans in voting for Gerry Connolly on November 6.

Virginia Senator Charles J. Colgan                          
Prince William County Supervisor John D. Jenkins


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