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Letter: Coleman has strong support for U.S. troops

I recently read a letter written by the DFL Veterans Caucus Chair, Jim Bootz, trashing Sen. Norm Coleman's support of U.S. service members and the Minnesota National Guard. I feel it is my duty, as a veteran of this most recent conflict, to respond with the facts.

It is obvious Mr. Bootz has never personally dealt with the Senator Coleman or taken a realistic looked at all he has done to support U.S. service members and veterans. After 36 months of deployments, I have seen first hand what a powerful champion Senator Coleman is for all U.S. service members and in particular, Minnesota National Guard troops. Thanks to Senator Coleman's support, our recently deployed units have had the very best in training and equipment to prepare for the trials of battle.

I have looked at Senator Norm Coleman's voting record and found that during his time in the U.S. Senate, Norm Coleman has supported a 67 percent increase in federal funding for veterans' programs. He has voted over 30 times to increase funding for veterans, and has done so without supporting the massive tax increases proposed by his Democratic colleagues.

Senator Coleman joined with colleagues to successfully introduce the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Act, a bill to implement a national strategy for troop reintegration, which was signed by the President. This program was a direct result of Senator Coleman listening to veterans' concerns and experiences in reestablishing their relationships with family, friends and the people around them.

It is very discouraging to have the likes of Al Franken and the DFL continue their unrelenting assault on the American taxpayers' pocketbooks by attempting to pass Democrat sponsored amendments and funded bills without mentioning the strings attached to those proposals -- our own purse strings.

I do agree with Mr. Bootz on one thing: veterans, active duty and National Guard service members have seen enough -- enough empty promises and misinformation about supporting our troops and veterans from the DFL. -- Peter T. Panos

(Panos is Co-Chair of the Coleman Veterans Coalition.)