DENVER — A former Veterans Administration Secretary heads a list of Colorado veterans who are supporting GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, the candidate’s campaign plans to announce Wednesday morning.
Jim Nicholson, a Vietnam veteran and former RNC Chairman who served as V.A. Secretary under President George W. Bush, tops a list of nearly 50 former servicemen and women making up what Beauprez’s campaign is calling its “Veterans Team.”
Veterans’ issues have drawn a lot of attention lately after revelations of alleged deception about the waiting time for treatment at veterans hospitals and ensuing calls for the resignation of V.A. Secretary Eric Shinseki.
Beauprez, who is fighting to emerge from a four-way primary that will end on June 24, doesn’t make it clear what the Veterans Team will do, just that he plans to stand up for their issues.
“Once our brave servicemen and women return home, they shouldn’t have to fight to receive benefits, health care and respect that were promised,” Beauprez says in the announcement from his campaign.
“When I represented Colorado in Congress. As your governor, I will work to ensure that all promises made to our veterans are kept. I will work tirelessly to hold officials accountable for their actions and their inactions. It is the duty of the governor to stand up for all of our citizens. I will guarantee Colorado veterans will receive our continued, unwavering gratitude.
“Standing with me to fulfill the promise America has made to our heroic servicemen and women is a coalition of proud Coloradans. The following founding members of our Veterans Team all proudly served in a branch of the United States military. We begin today to work tirelessly for them as they served to ensure our freedom.”
Unlike two of his primary opponents, Beauprez did not serve in the military–in fact, he was attacked by fellow Republicans in 2006 for receiving three deferments to avoid service during the Vietnam War; and Democrats also launched attack ads questioning whether he really deserved a medical deferment.
In Congress, Beauprez was a member of the House Committee for Veterans’ Affairs.
“He has built strong ties with current committee members and our Colorado veterans,” said Roger Hudson, Beauprez’s communications director. “Bob has a deep understanding of what is happening (or not happening) at the VA and in Washington.”
Mike Kopp was a U.S. Army Ranger paratrooper and served in Operation Desert Storm; and Scott Gessler served as a U.S. Army reservist and was deployed to Bosnia as a Civil Service Officer.
When he went to enlist during the Vietnam War, Tom Tancredo was given a “1-Y” deferment after telling doctors about being treated for depression.