Veterans Call on Senator Johnson to Support Real Reforms for America’s Veterans, Instead of Politicizing Them

May 31, 2016

In a conference call this morning, veterans Dave Boetcher and Dan Krehbiel, blasted Senator Johnson for his failed record on veterans issues. Boetcher and Krehbiel called on Senator Johnson to stop his political grandstanding and focus on real reforms. Johnson’s staff knew in December that the central claim in the Koch-backed Tomah smear campaign running on the Senator’s behalf was a lie, but he preferred to politicize America’s veterans rather than denounce the ads.

Below are remarks from Dave Boetcher U.S. Army Reserve (Ret.), Waunakee and Dan Krehbiel, U.S. Army, E-5 (Ret.), Black River Falls

From Dave Boetcher, who served as a chief warrant officer in Iraq during the first Gulf War.*

“My name is Dave Boetcher, I was in the Army Reserve for 27 Years and retired as a Chief Warrant Officer.

I served my country proudly in the first Gulf War, and was a veteran of that, and got activated for Operation Iraqi Freedom. And basically it’s frustrating to watch Senator Johnson keep grandstanding off veterans, myself included, with the ads he’s been doing.

There are serious issues facing America’s veterans, which we see at the VA. And so far Sen. Johnson has shown more passion for talking about the problems then fixing them.

He voted twice against the The Senate Comprehensive Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act, which would have invested in expanded aid and programs for veterans along with getting the cost of living back for retirement pay.

Veterans groups from around the country lined up behind that bill. And the people who lined up against it were special interest groups financed by the Koch network, and that’s who Johnson sided with.

And if that wasn’t enough, he turned around and voted against the Veterans Job Corp, which would have helped to employee tens of thousands of veterans.

I guess Senator Johnson is a very wealthy man, so maybe he doesn’t get how tough it is for vets who struggle with unemployment especially coming back after years of deployment when it’s hard to find jobs and job training, which those bills would have done.

I am realistic. I know there is not one solution to all these problems. But there’s a lot of common sense measures in those bills that would have made veteran’s lives better.

And Sen. Johnson needs to stop opposing them.

I mean if Johnson truly cared about serving Wisconsin’s veterans, he’d support real reforms and work to keep our servicemen and women safe. He wouldn’t threaten to privatize our care, advocating for vouchers, and he wouldn’t advocate for another reckless ground invasion in the middle east that would endanger thousands of American soldiers and service-members.”

From Dan Krehbiel, who served as a U.S. Army sergeant in Vietnam from 1969-1970.*

“From where I stand – I have a cardiac condition, I’m a disabled veteran – and for me to get cardiac specialized care, it has always been driving 140 miles or double that to Madison for the care.

Thanks to the Choice Program that was passed, now even when I do need that kind of specialized care, especially comprehensive care where my wife has to travel back and forth while I’m in surgery or wherever, the Choice Program allows me to do that in La Crosse, which is 40 miles from our front door.

I don’t know why Senator Johnson voted against that. I honest to gosh, I just don’t get that. It means the world to me personally – not just to me of course – but it’s those kinds of issues that have me very concerned.”

*Use of military rank or job titles does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.