On April 9, I had the tremendous honor to address a joint session of the Wisconsin Legislature to recognize those members of the Wisconsin National Guard who participated in the Southwest border mission as our Hometown Heroes.
I have a special connection to these men and women, as I participated in the same mission when I was in the Army 22 years ago and stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. It was a day to show respect for our service members and to celebrate what they’ve achieved.
Unfortunately, Rep. Steve Doyle, in a May 16 commentary, stated: “the speaker wandered into partisan territory.” Since I was the speaker during this event, I would like to share a few insights.
The information that I used to write my speech came directly from data provided by either the Wisconsin National Guard or by statements that the Wisconsin National Guard Adjutant General Major General Donald Dunbar made on March 28 in his informational testimony at a Veterans and Military Affairs Committee hearing.
Having an appreciation for the gravity of the moment, I was very careful to keep partisan rhetoric out of my speech.
Doyle asked readers to view the tape; I definitely would ask readers to view the tape. Because when Doyle and Sen. Jennifer Shilling failed to stand for our troops, I was at a point in my speech when I was listing what the soldiers and airmen had accomplished during their nine-month deployment — stopping more than 12,800 illegal immigrants from entering our country and seizing more than 8,000 pounds of marijuana and 200 pounds of meth amphetamines.
I’m a bit confused as to how that information was partisan.
In fact, if my comments were considered “partisan territory,” then why would the Wisconsin National Guard have those accomplishments on its website and in an article written by Capt. Joe Trovato?
Additionally, Doyle stated that “it was clear by the looks on the faces of some of the Guard members that they were uncomfortable that politics was interjected by the speaker.” Really? Did he take the time to ask the service members after the event? I spent time before and after the occasion to speak with as many of the Guard members as I could.
Not one of them indicated that any word from my comments made them uncomfortable; as a matter of fact, each one thanked me for my recognition of their accomplishments.
Perhaps the facial reaction that Doyle is referring to was one of astonishment that he and his colleagues refused to stand and recognize the list of the accomplishments made by the men and women who serve our nation.
By sitting, Doyle is the one who clearly interjected politics into this event.