North Florida Democrats roll out veterans’ initiatives


A quartet of Democratic congressional candidates from north Florida — all veterans themselves — on Thursday “endorsed a platform of policies that will improve the lives of veterans and their families,” according to a press release.

Steven Specht (1st Congressional District) is an Air Force veteran who served in Afghanistan. Walt Dartland (2nd Congressional District) is a former Marine Corps Major. Ken McGurn (3rd Congressional District) is an Army veteran who served in Vietnam. Dave Bruderly (4th Congressional District) was a member of the Navy Reserves during the Cold War.

The 1st and 2nd Districts have no incumbents running but are heavily conservative, with many vets and active service members who reliably vote Republican.

In the 3rd District, GOP incumbent Ted Yoho is running for re-election in a district rated “solid Republican” by the Cook Political Report; same as the 4th, although incumbent Ander Crenshaw is not running again.

The candidates outlined proposals to address access to health care, mental illness, and homelessness:

— Improved access to health care for veterans.

— Expanded transitional services for military personnel as they re-enter civilian society.

— Increased use of veteran treatment courts.

— Enhanced programs to assist veterans in finding affordable housing.

— Improved programs to help unemployed veterans.

— Increased access to mental health and substance abuse treatment services.

— Restoration of cuts to food stamp benefits for the 900,000 veterans who rely on them to feed their families.

“Our veterans have served us well and faithfully,” Dartland said in a statement. “The country must honor that service and sacrifice by making sure government programs support these brave men and women when they return home.”

Staff Reports

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