1. Gen. Wesley Clark and Eric Massa to Rochester: 'Support the Troops' is More Than A Slogan
ROCHESTER, NY -- Retired General Wesley Clark visited Rochester to support Eric Massa's campaign for Congress (NY-29). On their way to a noon fundraiser, Clark and Massa took time to pay a visit to the Veteran's Outreach Center in Rochester. Both men had high praise for the organization's work. "This group of people are on the forefront of the effort to take care of our men and women in uniform, and their families," said Clark.
In a press conference across the street after the visit, the Commander and the General noted that the need for intensive support services for veterans will undoubtedly be increasing dramatically with the return of large numbers of veterans returning from the Iraq war.
Massa praised the VOC's combination of pro-active outreach and intensive follow-up and advocacy. "We have a steady stream of veterans returning from the Middle East and Afghanistan already. They, and their families and dependents, deserve absolute support from the American people and our government. And as the conflicts wind down, eventually, we're going to see an enormous wave of returning soldiers. Large numbers of them will have serious problems."
"This is especially true here in New York State, where the men and women currently serving are much more likely to be National Guard and Reserves than active duty. These folks are generally somewhat older than active duty military, with families and economic responsibilities. Many of them will have severe medical problems, the likes of which this country has never seen on this scale. And post-traumatic stress disorder often doesn't appear until months after a soldier leaves the combat theater."
In the one political note of the morning, Massa observed that "unfortunately, sometimes that slogan, `support the troops," is just a slogan. This is especially true in our current Congress, which has more often than not talked a good game and then, out of sight of the media, cut veterans' benefits and support programs in the name of deficit reduction, while handing out enormous tax breaks to millionaires and corporations that are far less needy and less deserving of our support. That needs to change."
2. Massa Defends Murtha in Pennsylvania; Condemns Smear Campaign
ROCHESTER, NY -- Congressional candidate Eric Massa (NY-29) travels to Pennsylvania on Wednesday and Thursday this week to defend U.S. Rep. John Murtha against smears by several right-wing swift-boat style groups. Murtha, the first Vietnam veteran elected to Congress, is coming under attack for his calls to withdraw troops from Iraq. Conservative extremists with ties to the Swift Boat attack squad that went after Sen. John Kerry in 2004 are converging on Murtha, and Massa will be standing in vigorous opposition to what he called "a disgusting smear campaign."
According to an article in the Johnstown, PA Tribune Democrat (August 1, 2006), the Swift Boat crew, reconstituted as a new group - Veterans for the Truth - are bringing their campaign to "Redeploy John Murtha From Congress" to his backyard. Reaction has been swift, with rapid response rallies and press conferences scheduled, Murtha's supporters converging, and the internet and the blogs in overdrive. Murtha, for his part, appears unfazed.
Massa will be traveling to Pennsylvania to show solidarity with Murtha and former Senator Max Cleland to denounce the attacks. In advance of the event, Massa said, I will travel to Johnstown PA to stand with Senator Max Cleland as he and I and others stand to defend Congressman Jack Murtha from attacks by the spineless author of Unfit for Command - John E. O'Neill. Apparently O'Neil is going to Murtha's District to attack the Congressman because the Congressman disagrees with the neo-conservative armchair military second guessers in the White House.
Massa called for a vigorous rejection of what he called "Republican politics of desperation and McCarthyism." Massa said, "I'm going to stand with John Murtha because I will not see my Nation taken over by a bunch of Swift Boating political opportunists. I will be putting my time, energy, and money where my beliefs are - in support of great American who is telling it like it is - Congressman Murtha. This race is all about integrity. Americans like Jack Murtha have integrity. Smear experts like John O'Neill and the Swift Boaters have none."
Eric Massa is in an extremely competitive race to represent NY's 29th District. The 29th stretches from southern Monroe County in Upstate New York into the Southern Tier of New York State from the towns of Olean to Elmira. Eric Massa is running to bring leadership and integrity to Congress. "We now have a government of, by, and for millionaires, corporations, and lobbyists. I'm running to change that." Massa's campaign is focused on jobs, veterans's issues, health care, and national security. He favors "Fair Trade, not Free Trade," and aggressive congressional oversight on foreign policy and national security. He is a vigorous champion for veterans' benefits, and an advocate for 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.