Military Service Politics

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

From the mountains of Afghanistan to the jungles of Vietnam, from every American war have come new leaders. Men and women who went off to fight for their country and returned determined to play a role in its political future. Jeff Brandes is one of those veterans, a former army officer who served in Iraq and now represents Saint Petersburg in the state house.

Brandes says, "A lot of individuals respect military service, and it puts you in a different caliber in their mind for a lot of reasons, simply because you have that service and you've been deployed and you've served overseas."

When it comes to campaigning for public office, a military record means a lot more than just a couple of lines on a resume. It also signifies a devotion to the kind of honor and discipline many voters want more of in their government, but when politicians lie about having served in the military, Senator Don Gaetz says voters are defrauded. That's why he has a bill that would fine candidates five thousand dollars for being dishonest about their record.

Gaetz says, "When veterans run for office, they're accorded a kind of respect that is earned and well-deserved, but it would be inappropriate, it would be wrong, and I want to make it illegal, for somebody who hasn't served in the military to claim that honor as a way of trying to get a political advantage."

Here in Florida, there hasn't been a documented case of a candidate lying about military service, but just last year, Connecticut's attorney general took heat for fudging the facts about whether he went to Vietnam.
For Gaetz and Brandes, the mere potential for that to happen here is reason for action.

"It's a matter of public trust."

It's a whole new 'call to duty.' Not on the battlefield, but in Florida's halls of power.

The recently-filed bill would only make it illegal for candidates to lie about whether they've served in the military.

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  • by ETurnage Location: Tallahassee on Jan 30, 2011 at 02:23 PM
    What politicians should pay attention to is the fact that Veterans are not only seeking office, but they also constitute one of, if not the largest reliable and informed voting blocks. Play nice, play honest or....else.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 28, 2011 at 04:20 PM
    I think it should be a requirement, it shows courage, and strength and the ability to tell the truth. Not what we have now
  • by SPC Collier Location: Tallahassee on Jan 28, 2011 at 01:43 PM
    It should be the very first bullet point. There is no way, you can say that veterans fall in the same category as "any other person". Because everybody wouldn't do what we have gone through to be called a soldier or marine or seaman, or guardsman. It takes a lot to earn those names, and I would want a person in office that can display those same values as the military teaches. BTW the article isn't saying that having a military background is a requirement, but it does make the candidate look better, otherwise they wouldn't lie about it. It makes me feel good to say that I am a soldier, and today makes 3 years I have been. Maybe one day you will have to call me president, and I wouldn't have to lie about my service to YOUR country. But thats just my way of looking at it. Everyone is entitled...
  • by Hey PrezNixon on Jan 28, 2011 at 11:50 AM
    Thrown in jail? What law did they break? Not saying I condone doing that. Just asking a question.
  • by PrezNixon Location: tallytown on Jan 28, 2011 at 09:32 AM
    Politicians who lie about military service should be tar-and-feathered. Then thrown out of office and then thrown in jail.
  • by Veteran Location: Crawfordville on Jan 28, 2011 at 06:44 AM
    To Watcher, Serving in the military is not just a mention of honor and commitment. It is a job, so why should it not be used as a resume bullet point. In the military you learn teamwork, leadership, logistics, and so much more. If you were looking for a new job and say you worked at a place to gain experience for 10 years, how would you feel if they said you can't use that previous position on your resume. Politicians should not lie about they past experience to gain "points" for election. It is wrong and I consider it a "slap in the face" for all of us who have served in the military of this great country.
  • by watcher Location: nearby on Jan 28, 2011 at 05:30 AM
    Its nice that many veterans chose to run for public offices but I don`t think it should be a resume bullet point to prove qualification to be a politician. I don`t think military service should be a requirement or disqualification - it should not be mentioned. Any legal taxpaying, voting resident citizens should be all that is required to be a candidate if they have a desire to represent the public.
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