From the 9/19/06 Press Release:
Congressional Candidate and 24-year Navy veteran Eric Massa added two critical endorsements today, from gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer and from the National Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Political Action Committee. Spitzer and Massa made the joint announcement at a 4:15 pm press conference today at the Patchen Briggs VFW Post on North Union St. in Rochester.
In pointed remarks to veterans, Massa cited the VFW PAC’s extreme displeasure with Kuhl’s voting record on veterans’ issues. In particular, he pointed to a spring 2006 military appropriations spending bill that slashed funding for research and treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) at Walter Reed Army Hospital’s Brain Injury Center. Kuhl voted in favor of that bill.
According to the Disabled American Veterans web site, Kuhl’s voting record on veterans’ issues is among the weakest in Congress. “For 2005-2006 it’s 85% ‘against,'” said Massa. “That demonstrates that for Randy Kuhl, and for the Republican Congress in general, ‘support the troops’ is little more than an empty slogan.” Massa quoted Jim Mueller, commander-in-chief of the 2.4 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars: “You either take care of the troops, or you don’t.”
Massa also repeated his call for significant expansion of the Canandaigua VA Hospital, citing its vital importance as a center for treatment of TBI and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Due to the nature of Iraq war combat, veterans are returning with much higher rates of such injuries than from previous conflicts, and both candidates said that a reduction of services or closure of the hospital would be a grievous disservice to veterans.
Despite recurring rumors of the facility’s imminent closure, Massa said that he didn’t think that was likely for political reasons. “I’d be more inclined to expect an October Surprise, with my opponent riding in on a white horse to save the day. That’s not good enough. Keeping it open for a few months or a year to buy some votes is inadequate. Given the enormous need and this facility’s expertise, we need stable, long-term funding and a significant expansion of services.”
Eric Massa’s campaign to represent NY’s 29th District in Congress is one of the top challenger races in the country. The 29th stretches from southern Monroe County into the Southern Tier of New York State, and from the towns of Olean to Elmira. Eric Massa aims to restore leadership and integrity to Congress. Massa’s campaign is focused on jobs, veterans’ issues, health care, and national security. He is a vigorous champion of veterans’ benefits and health care coverage for all Americans. Massa lives in Corning, NY with his wife of 20 years, Beverly, and their two teenage children, Justin and Alexandra.
You can watch video of the event on line at the above linked page.