Senator Max Cleland Endorses David Sanders
Monday, September 25, 2006—Dr. David Sanders, candidate for the office of U.S. Representative for the 4th Congressional District of the State of Indiana, appeared at a rally at 9:30 AM Thursday, September 25, 2006 at the Adam's Mark Hotel, Indianapolis, from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the Veteran's Memorial in Brownsburg, and 3:00 PM to 3:30PM at the Tippecanoe County Democratic Headquarters in Lafayette alongside former Senator Max Cleland.
Dr. Sanders stated, "It is essential that the confidence of Americans in their elected officials be restored. Promises need to be kept. Representatives need to keep faith with the workers, retirees, parents, teachers, farmers and small businessmen who sent them to look out for their interests.
"Commitments need to be fulfilled. It is critical that there be no question about the dedication of the American government to the delivery of the benefits to which those who served in the military are entitled. It is a disgrace that at a time when American men and women are serving their country in the military overseas there are some in Congress who have devoted themselves to reducing veterans eligibility for benefits and silencing the voices of veterans and their service organizations.
"Making the decision to go to war must include the resolve to pay for the health needs of our returning troops. A terrible toll of nearly 20,000 wounded American soldiers is one of the legacies of the war in Iraq. Funding for traumatic brain injury and mental health treatment and support for military families must be considered an essential component of the costs of war. Our National Guardsmen and Army and Marine Reservists are serving at the front lines in combat roles in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their sacrifice needs to be recognized, and they need to have access to health benefits when they return home.
"A critical factor for our troops is their morale. General and President George Washington stated, 'The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their country.' I believe that veterans' benefits are earned, were promised, and should be guaranteed.
"The expression, 'Support our Troops' needs to be expanded. It should be "Support our Troops and their Families/Support our Troops Present and Past/Support our Troops Overseas and at Home."
Senator Max Cleland stated, "The best way to understand the incumbent's [Steve Buyer's] attitude toward veterans is to look at his efforts to silence over 30 veteran service organizations, chartered by the congress, from testifying in committee about the dramatic need for increased funding for the VA, which is now seeing around 1 million Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans coming home.
"The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs committee should be the greatest champion of America's veterans, not blocking VSOs from testifying. The current congressman needs to show real support for our troops coming home.
"Many of you here today understand how traumatic war can be for soldiers. I support David Sanders because he has guts, he understands the needs of the VA, and because he has experience working on many issues vital to national security."
About Max Cleland
Former U.S. Senator Max Cleland (D-GA) has a long and distinguished career in public service at the state and national levels in both the executive and legislative branches of government.
In 2002, Cleland was appointed to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States to report findings and recommendations to prevent future terrorist attacks. More recently he has served as a Distinguished Adjunct Professor to American University's (AU) Washington Semester Program, and as a Fellow in AU's Center for Congressional & Presidential Studies.
Cleland successfully ran for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Sam Nunn in 1995. He served on four Senate Committees: Armed Services; Commerce, Science and Transportation; Governmental Affairs; and Small Business Previously, Cleland had the distinction of serving as the youngest Secretary of State in Georgia's history and the youngest member of the Georgia State Senate.
Under President Jimmy Carter, Cleland became the youngest head of the U.S. Veterans Administration. In that capacity he instituted the revolutionary Vets Center program that, for the first time, offered psychological counseling to combat veterans to heal the emotional wounds of war.
Cleland volunteered for duty in Vietnam and was promoted to the rank of Captain in 1968. He was seriously wounded in a grenade explosion that year, costing him both legs and his right arm. He was awarded the Bronze Star and a Silver Star for gallantry in action. Cleland holds a master's degree in American History from Emory University He majored in history at Stetson University. Both institutions subsequently awarded him honorary doctorate degrees. Cleland grew up in Lithonia, GA.