Part II: Don’t You Forget About Me
When I remember the turmoil of the late sixties and early seventies, I recollect how poorly our Vietnam Veterans were treated. They were spit on and called baby killers. My heart breaks for them; they deserved better. Thankfully, the climate in our country changed, we learned from our mistakes, and our troops from Desert Storm and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been embraced by their fellow countrymen.
Tom Prigg remembers how the Vietnam War affected his father. His father never spoke about his service, but the one time that he did, his recollections were disturbing for a son who loved his father. His father worried about him when he was sent to Panama and now, Tom Prigg’s eldest daughter is in the reserves and has done a “combat tour in the Middle East,” and like his father, he was very worried about her, too. Besides his father, he and his daughter are reluctant to speak of their military involvement. He explained, “Talking about my military experience makes me really uncomfortable because so many have gone through hell.”
Unlike many politicians, who talk about helping veterans, but in reality, only provide adequate funding for defense contractors, Tom Prigg will work to improve the lives of our veterans and current service men and women. On his campaign website (www.tompriggforcongress.com), he cites statistics that tell their story: 20% of all suicides are by veterans, 10% of our nation’s homeless are veterans, 20% of veterans rely on SNAP [food stamps], and a staggering 1.5 million are impoverished. Therefore, he plans to help alleviate their hardships by supporting “better programs and services to help active servicemembers and veterans when they come home after serving their country.”
He explained that after leaving the army, the GI Bill helped him pay for college, thus, he understands it’s essentialness. He exclaims:
The GOP wants troops to pay into it and make cuts. It’s as though they are trying to keep the people poor at every juncture. I want soldiers to spend their last six months trained for a good civilian job. Not having them doing it after they get out…I also want them automatically enrolled with the VA and there is no time limit to be seen. I also want a better job finding service for the soldiers as they finish their training. When I got out, I didn’t know how to write a resume or look for jobs. Nothing.
Besides veterans, he plans to aid workers by encouraging economic development, especially after witnessing towns decimated by mill closures and rural areas being “ignored and written off.” He remembers, “I was told all my life that I would not amount to anything. I worked hard to prove those people wrong every time.” So, he plans to “pay it forward” by ensuring that people can “break out and succeed.” Furthermore, he has additional priorities, such as, plans to ensure that worker’s rights aren’t decimated, guaranteeing people have access to affordable health-care, “eliminating student debt and creating a free college infrastructure in the future,” and expanding Social Security and Medicare to properly care for the elderly.
He proposes several methods to pay for these initiatives, such as, a “full defense audit” as “the partial ones we’ve had uncovered hundreds of millions of dollars of waste.” He continues:
We can’t continue to simply throw more money onto the defense spending pile. Also, Congress orders some defense spending even when the Pentagon says they don’t need it like the tanks in 2015. We’ve got to rework our taxes so the wealthiest people pay their fair share in taxes. It’s ridiculous that our hard-earned money is going to the wealthiest of 0.01% instead of our families.
So, to his constituents, I have to say that he won’t forget about you as he imparts, “This is why I’m here. I’m tired of waiting for knights in shining armor.”
Check back for Part III: He Blinded Me with Science and Policy