Candidates focus on veterans as election nears

As Indiana celebrated the dedication of the new Bicentennial Plaza Saturday, candidates from both parties took advantage of the extra traffic in downtown Indianapolis.

Candidates for governor, John Gregg and Eric Holcomb, as well as those in the Senate race, Evan Bayh and Todd Young, appeared at Indianapolis events to show support for veterans.

Democrats Gregg and Bayh attended Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s veterans’ picnic at Garfield Park. Vietnam-era veteran Pam Smith appreciated the picnic because she said veterans can be a “forgotten people.”

“It’s really nice that there are people who still do care for veterans,” Smith said. “It’s like we don’t exist lots of times.”

With less than a month until Election Day, Gregg said he wanted to pay tribute to those who serve the country while also discussing veteran issues with voters.

“Our country has been at war with terrorism now for fifteen years,” he said, “and men and women who have served in that war or previous wars deserve our respect and recognition.”

At the same time Saturday but across downtown at the Indiana War Memorial, Republicans Holcomb and Young attended a veterans’ roundtable. Arizona Sen. John McCain and Indiana Sen. Dan Coats also participated.

The four men, all who are military veterans, said the focus of their campaign stop was to show support for fellow veterans.

“We will identify and work with every veteran to ensure every one of them gets what they deserve: benefits,” Holcomb said.

Young said he too will work every day to give them the benefits they deserve.

“We have to show that we care for them. We have to have leaders who understand the importance of American leaders in the world,” Young said.

McCain said he wanted to show public support for Young because of Young’s military experience and what he said is proven support for the veterans.

“I came here because I believe it is my obligation to bring forward another generation of men and women who have served this nation,” McCain said.
Coats also slipped in an endorsement, supporting Holcomb for governor.

“He has the values, the courage and the strength to carry on what has been so remarkable in this state,” Coats said. “If you like the direction our state is going, Eric is the right person.”

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