John lenotte, American LegionThe last two months I have been mentioning the general elections which will be held on Tuesday, November 4th. We will be voting for the top state officials including Governor, Lt. Governor, Treasurer, Auditor and Attorney General. We will also be voting for US Senator: Senator Markey is up for re-election. And we will be voting for members of the US House of Representatives. This is an important election. The turnout for the primary election was about fifteen per cent. What a shame. There are many more that complain about how things are being run. And a lot who are happy. Where were you when it was time to vote? By not voting, you are letting others decide for you as to who will be our elected representatives.

Our elected officials need to be sent a message. If you support them, they need your vote. If you do not support them, then you should vote for their opponent. The place to voice your pleasure or displeasure is in the voting booth. Voting is one of our fundamental rights and obligations as citizens of this great country. I hope you will join me in exercising this right on November 4th.

The candidates are all well meaning, community service minded individuals. They are giving up their time and monies to run for office. Policy ideas will be different. As voters we need to support them.

The media ads have begun. Personally, I will be watching the debates and looking at online sites to dig down beyond the ads. A website I often use is Become an informed voter, make your voice heard. The only way we can really affect decisions is to contact our legislators and as noted before – to VOTE. Let us show our elected officials that we do care enough to vote!

The American Legion remains watchful in terms of changes in the Veterans Administration (VA). Our National Commander, Mike Helm, has shared with President Obama a measure of disappointment. Given all that has come up about the VA, no one has been terminated. In the business world, such incompetence would result in those at fault being fired,yet many in the VA remain in their jobs. There have been many improvements, but there is still a way to go.

On another familiar topic, this is not the time to cut the Department of Defense budget. Our military will need to replenish its supply of weapons and to keep up the maintenance of its equipment. Failure is not an option. Just look at the news on any given day. It is a scary world. The last thing any of us wants is another attack on US soil. A strong defense will prevent that. And of course, the intelligence agencies and Homeland Security will need funds. But some of it can be working smarter not harder. Just look at the recent fire that caused havoc at the two Chicago airports. And there was no backup system? We are vulnerable and need to put funding into our defense which includes a strong infrastructure. If not, we keep ourselves open to crippling attacks to our way of life.

Stand up. Be heard. VOTE.

May God Bless our troops, their families and this great country.