Tester to Zinke – Lifetime Pass for Veterans

It was nice to read a press release from U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) that said he was asking Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to support the creation of a lifetime national park pass allowing America’s veterans to enter all of the nation’s National Park Service sites for free.

Tester has introduced a bipartisan bill with Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) to allow veterans to purchase a lifetime pass good for all federal sites for a discounted, one-time fee.

I think this is a good idea. The bill, S- 521, makes the cost $80 for a lifetime pass. That seems like a Washington, D.C. amount. I was thinking $25 would be perfect – I mean if you want to make it a good thing for veterans.

Now to get picky – it’s not really free as Tester says in his press release “America’s veterans to enter all of the nation’s National Park Service sites for free.”

The cost is $80 according to the bill.

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Update – USAF/Risch: Dropping the Ball

Back in July (2013), I wrote about the death of Airman 1st Class (A1C) Kelsey Sue Anderson of Idaho, who died at Andersen AFB, Guam, on June 9, 2011. You can read that commentary HERE.

The family of A1C Anderson was getting the runaround from the United States Air Force (USAF) and very little assistance from their United States Senator, Jim Risch.

The family decided to file a lawsuit against the Air Force to find out more about their daughter’s death. The Air Force finally provided them with the requested information. The Associated Press also received information a few months later through a records request.

The AP reported that A1C Anderson “was stripped of her service revolver over mental health concerns, but her weapons privileges had been restored about a month before she used the gun to kill herself.”

A1C Anderson’s chain of command dropped the ball.  Continue reading

USAF/Risch: Dropping the Ball

“She was the light and energy of her family, and she will be greatly missed, especially her beautiful smile.”  Obituary of 19-year-old Kelsey Sue Anderson

Many readers may never experience the heartbreak of losing a child. I can’t imagine the grief that families go through when dealing with the tragedy of a child dying so young. To add to the heartache, the family of Airman 1st Class Kelsey Sue Anderson of Idaho is getting the runaround from the United States Air Force (USAF) and very little assistance from their United States Senator, Jim Risch.

Airman Anderson was a member of the USAF and was assigned duties with Security Forces on the beautiful island of Guam. She had been there about five months before her death on June 9, 2011.

The USAF says that Airman Anderson was “the apparent victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound from her own service weapon” according to a story from the Associated Press.

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They Deserve a Vote

It’s unimaginable that after living through the tragedy that took the lives of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the families of the victims may not even get a vote on gun restrictions in the U.S. Senate.

They deserve a vote now.

It is being reported that several GOP Senators are planning to filibuster any new gun restrictions that are brought forth in the U.S. Senate. The 13 Senators are Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Richard Burr, Ron Johnson, Mike Enzi, Jim Risch, Mike Crapo, Dan Coats, Jerry Morgan, Pat Roberts, and Marco Rubio. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated he supports a filibuster, too.

In case you are keeping score at home, these senators are far-righties.

If this is Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus’ rebranding plan for the GOP, then Democrats all across the fruited plains should be rejoicing.  Continue reading