By Erin Coleman, a Tennessee Resident & Proud Veteran
"There are lots of words to describe who I am. I’m a wife, a mother, and an attorney, just to name a few. I’m also a veteran, having served as a geo-spatial officer in Iraq for the 20th Engineering Brigade of the United States Army. This is just a brief snapshot of my military service, but it continues to impact my life to this day. Serving our country was a humbling yet rewarding experience.
Like many Americans, I’m tired of the partisan bickering and endless double-speak that’s become the status quo in Washington.
Americans for Prosperity, a notorious right-wing attack group, launched a six-figure ad campaign this Memorial Day weekend to praise Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn for voting against the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill in March. One of the many items contained in this massive bill was funding for a 2.4 percent pay raise for uniformed military members through the end of September. This is the first pay increase for our military in almost a decade.
This comes after many of us watched with annoyance on May 19 as Blackburn tweeted from her campaign account about how wonderful the military pay raise is – even though she voted against it.
Many families throughout the country struggle to make ends meet, and military families are no exception. For example, in 2016, it was reported that 23,000 active-duty service members are dependent on food stamps. In fact, when I was a platoon leader, many in my platoon received such services due to their low rate of pay.
Blackburn’s blatant disregard for the well-being of our military families and for the truth on this matter is shocking, but not unexpected for anyone that has followed her career.
This is a congresswoman that constantly touts her support for the military and veterans, so her vote against something that would improve our quality of life is both puzzling and troubling.
Our military sacrifices everything, and they should be paid appropriately as a true thank you for their continued service.
The actions of Blackburn and Americans for Prosperity are the lowest form of Washington doublespeak. In March, she voted against funding this small pay increase. Now she praises it, and her Washington allies want us to tell her thanks for nothing. If you happened to be listening to the radio in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, you probably heard Blackburn’s ad touting her support for veterans and urging Americans to stand during the National Anthem as a sign of respect for those who have served our country.
Her vote against the pay raise, however, is proof that she only supports veterans when it’s convenient for her to use us in her campaign ads and tweets. I guess she was hoping we wouldn’t notice. As Blackburn continues her run for the U.S. Senate, she’ll undoubtedly talk about how much she cares for current and former military members while making empty promises that she doesn’t intend to keep.
Sadly, her actions speak much louder than her words, and we’ll remember how she turned her back on our military when we cast our votes in November."