Q&A With VAN President About Veterans And Politics
1) What’s the purpose of the Kara Frame exhibit at the Highground?
Kara has done a documentary about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She grew up in the environment because her father, a Vietnam Veteran, suffered from it and she wants to get the word out about how PTSD affects Veterans and their family. Her parents are featured in her documentary “I Will Go Back Tonight.”
2) Switching gears here, what are Veterans to come out of the election?
A VA system that actually works and communicates about the transition between active-duty military service and becoming a Veteran. Very few military personal know that it takes a minimum of six months to become added in VA system. And this isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s always been that way. VA needs to improve the process of how a soldier becomes a Veteran.
3) As you attend political and Veteran events, what are the biggest problems you hear or notice?
Voters are uneducated and it is a big liability. A Veteran wants to be taken care with no fanfare. Some states like Wisconsin are great at taking care of Veterans. Others aren’t.
4) Should more organizations like Veterans Action Network help Veterans become politically active?
Many Veterans groups do great work in specific niches such as helping homeless Veterans or getting Veterans help with their mortgage or home loans. It would help if these organizations worked together to create a better political community among Veterans. While some larger groups push recruitment, it would help a lot if more groups became connected to help in the political process.
5) If you had five minutes with the next President, what Veterans-related issue would you want them to know about?
First off, I’d want them to continue to give active duty troops the support they need to be successful, both at home and on the battlefield. Give them more tools to help their families and eliminate the cuts they have made to military housing. Second, I’d say get clearer data about Veteran-related programs so we know what’s going on at the federal level.
6) What stops Veterans from becoming politically active?
Most Veterans are frustrated by being politicized by those in office. They want to work and live the same as everyone else. They don’t want to be paraded around or used to make political points.
7) Is it a problem that the current Republican or Democrat Presidential candidates did not serve in the military?
Yes, it’s bad. They don’t know what the military does. Congress has plenty of Veterans and I think we need more of them. We need leaders that are focused on solving real issues in the military and with Veterans, not ones concerned about bathrooms.