Beto’s tireless work on behalf of veterans | Shane Mercer, Texan, West Point graduate and proud Army veteran
Today, Americans come together to honor the extraordinary contributions of our servicemen and servicewomen. As a proud Texas veteran, I can say that these veterans and their families have paid an enormous price to serve our country and ensure the preservation of our democratic ideals. As we pause to celebrate and reflect on the heroic sacrifices they’ve made for our country, we must also consider what the nation owes them in return.
Texans need, and our veterans deserve, a service-oriented senator who values our veterans and is devoted to their well-being. Therefore, we must work together and elect Beto O’Rourke to the U.S. Senate.
Since his election to Congress, Beto has emerged as a leader on every meaningful issue that affects America’s veterans and their families. Today, vets struggle with a host of service-related issues to include rates of unemployment and homelessness that far exceed the national average. Additionally, too many veterans suffer quietly from invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Left untreated, these combat-induced injuries lead to the elevated levels of depression, substance abuse and suicide prevalent among today’s veterans.
As a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Beto has worked relentlessly with members of both parties to address the needs of veterans by introducing numerous legislative initiatives to ensure every veteran has access to excellent health care, strengthen the GI Bill, reduce the wait times for VA disability claims and appeals, and remove regulatory burdens that prevent employers from hiring veterans. In fact, Beto has become one of the country’s most prominent leaders in the effort to reduce barriers to veteran’s health care and dramatically reform the VA.
Beto understands the value that servicemembers and veterans bring to Texas. As Fort Bliss rapidly expanded over the last decade to become one of the largest army installations in the world, Beto’s leadership at the local and federal level proved essential to the remarkably successful partnership between the Fort Bliss and El Paso communities. As a Congressman, Beto held public Town Halls every month to address veterans’ issues, staying as long as necessary to ensure every veteran had an opportunity to speak and ask questions. He has been a relentless advocate for economic and infrastructure development designed to prepare for and leverage the vast military growth in West Texas. Beto remains a central leader in this West Texas renaissance as El Paso/Fort Bliss have emerged as a coveted duty station for active duty personnel and retirement location for our veterans.
While Ted Cruz was busy attending fundraisers, chasing TV cameras and skipping Armed Services Committee meetings, Beto O’Rourke was working to deliver for Fort Bliss, West Texas, servicemembers and veterans. This is exactly why we need him in the U.S. Senate.
Beto’s tireless work on behalf of veterans is often outside of the spotlight, and it generates little in terms of media headlines or fundraising dollars. He is a serious public servant, and his sole motivation in Washington stems from a genuine desire to improve the lives of Texans. I have never seen a politician who cares like he does — Beto is personally invested in the lives of Texas servicemembers and veterans — and we all know it. Whether it’s the personal follow-up with veterans after Town Halls or the eagerness to personally assist local soldiers and transitioning servicemembers, the El Paso community is full of veterans whose lives have been touched by Beto and his family.
Contrast this with the actions of Ted Cruz — who, in 2013, led the government shutdown. Cruz has sympathized with discredited conspiracy theorists and as they disparaged service members during the vital Jade Helm military training exercise. And Ted Cruz’s attendance record at Armed Services Committee hearings is pitiful at best.
Veterans and servicemembers, like all Texans, are too often the victims of Ted Cruz’s unrestrained political ambition and obsession with pursuing the Presidency. Ted Cruz has used his senate seat to serve himself at the expense of our veterans and servicemembers.
Like many West Texas veterans, I know Beto, and I’m proud to give him the best compliment that I can: he would have made an exceptional Army officer. He possesses remarkable self-discipline, he is full of empathy and a motivation to serve others, he’s tough, honest to a fault, and he desperately loves the state of Texas and his country. Texans need him and our veterans deserve him.
As we celebrate our nation’s veterans, let’s do them a favor and fight to elect this good man and outstanding service-oriented leader to the United States Senate.
Texan, West Point graduate and proud Army veteran