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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Letter to the Senator

by guest author Matthew Britt / @rickblumenberg
Recently I wrote about my nephew Matthew Britt’s graduation from college. Then I saw a letter he had written to Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill. It was well written and made a good point. I thought my readers might enjoy reading that letter as well.

Matt Britt’s Letter to his Senator

Letter from me [Matt Britt], to the senior Senator from Missouri, Claire McCaskill. While I am not retiring from the military, I do believe that all my friends still serving deserve what they were promised for all the hardships of that last decade plus.

Senator McCaskill,

You spoke at my SEMO graduation this past weekend and were quite engaging. I graduated with two degrees, one being in political science, so I want you to understand that I understand that there needs to be an actual budget, the budget process and that at times things must be signed into law that we all do not agree with in their entirety. I was writing in response to your vote of yea on the current budget that allowed for the decrease in veteran's benefits. I was writing because to me, and many other veteran's, it was a slap in the face for those who have given so much. I spent nine years in Army Special Operations, of which a third was spent in areas where people actively wanted, and tried to, kill me and my friends and co-workers on a daily basis. I loved my job, those I worked with and my country.

I look at the cut to the COLA of retirees as piddly stopgap to a problem that we, as an entire nation, face. We need to balance the budget and cut spending. That is a fact that I wholly agree with, my issue is with the cuts. During my time in service, on more than one occasion, I was asked to sit on a panel and look at and trouble shoot products that had been contracted out for my Group. One item looked cool, was an interesting idea but totally unfeasible for what our mission was downrange. It only took three years and millions of dollars for us to be able to tell them that it was a waste of time since we would never use the product. That was just one product on one panel I sat that week. Maybe a little less in this department would be more cost effective. Even stopping the Army from all of the uniform changes would have saved millions. Look towards the programs that always come in over budget and lacking in results to save money.

Instead it seems that troop benefits are always a target for cuts, even more insulting considering the lack in number of veterans in elected office. I guess I just find it disappointing that my leading Senator, who aired many commercials during the last election cycle about standing up for veteran’s rights, chose to vote this way. Military life is already hard enough. Physically, mentally and emotionally it takes a toll, especially after twelve years of active combat. Unlike people in your position, soldiers are not fully vested in a retirement program after five years. Not even at ten or eighteen. Service members must serve a full twenty years to receive their retirement.

So I am asking, what makes your job so much more important that it allows you to vote to cut the benefits of the people that actually put their life on the line supporting and defending the nation? I would like to know where enough will be enough when it comes to caring for those who actually gave so much for their country? I would like to know what you plan to do to ensure that those benefits promised the fine men and women who volunteered to put themselves in harm’s way will not continually end up on the chopping block or as bargaining chips in a government where the political parties seem more interested in sticking it to the other party than doing the job they were elected to do?

I appreciate the time and hope that you and yours have a happy holiday season.

V/R, Matt Britt

Perhaps Matthew Britt should consider running for office himself?

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . . and that's My View from Tanner Creek.


Laryssa-5 said...

I've sent emails to Sen. McCaskill, but they always fall on deaf ears. I never received anything more than a politically pat response which didn't even address my concerns. Of the many calls I've made I only received one email in guessed it...just regurgitated info from her party that didn't address my concerns or questions at all! Was curious about her response...if any. ;-)

Rick Blumenberg said...

I don't know of any response. If Matt shares a genuine response with me I'll probably add it to the post or at least email you with it. If it is one like you got, I may not.

Thanks for reading Lynn! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!