Christine Jones Launches ‘Department of Failure’ Report Card

Uncle Sam Report Card

(Gilbert, AZ) – Friday, conservative business leader and congressional candidate Christine Jones kicked off the first in a series of report cards highlighting how government continues to fail the American people. Today’s ‘Department of Failure’ report card focuses on the problems at the Veterans Administration.

Recently during a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Bob McDonald, compared waiting lists at VA Hospitals to waiting lines at Disney. To date, hundreds of veterans have died waiting to receive care at VA Hospitals. (Christian Science Monitor – May 23, 2016)

Christine Jones issued the following statement:

“Here we go again, Washington’s career politicians and hordes of bureaucrats have proven just how inept and ineffective they are in solving real problems.

“Comparing VA hospital wait times to lines at Disneyland not only adds insult to injury, it demonstrates a disturbing culture of disregard and disrespect towards our veterans, and it needs to be purged starting at the very top.”

Rep Martha McSally on Fight to Restore Eligibility for WASP’s

Congresswoman Martha McSally is leading the fight to restore the eligibility of  WASPs’ to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Sponsored by McSally, H.R. 4336, has obtained the bipartisan cosponsors of 141 members in the House as well as the endorsement of several veterans, military, and women’s advocacy groups. Here is the video of her interview on CBS:

Outraged, Lt Col Rogers calls on Sheriff Babeu to Exit Arizona CD-1 Race

Wendy Rogers

On Wednesday, Wendy Rogers called for her opponent, Sheriff Paul Babeu to drop out of the race for Arizona’s first congressional district.  Shocking new allegations of abuse at a boarding house in Massachusetts run by Sheriff Babeu were detailed in an expose Tuesday night by ABC 15.  

“Today I call on Sheriff Babeu to do the right thing. Step down from this race. You are an embarrassment to the Republican Party, the state of Arizona, and our nation. We deserve better,” said Rogers.  

On the tape, Sheriff Babeu can be heard comparing the school’s treatment of children to boot camp.  Rogers, a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel, had this to say, “I went through military officer training.  It built camaraderie, instilled honor, and made me the professional I am today.  My fellow veterans and I will not stand for Sheriff Babeu’s twisted attempt to justify cruelty to children.”

Rogers further explained, “Sheriff Babeu’s views are also completely at odds with what I have come to know as a foster parent and clinical social worker.  No child is hopeless. All children need and deserve compassion and understanding.”    

The Babeu campaign today released a statement saying, “These allegations prove nothing new.”  In response Rogers said, “His own campaign website touted his executive experience from having led this school as a qualification for elected office.  He held this as evidence of experience, while he knew EXACTLY what this school did.  He has lied to the voters about this, and continues to do so, even as this horrifying evidence comes to light.”

Michael Desisto

Michael Desisto

Paul Babeu and Michael Desisto

Paul Babeu and Michael Desisto

Lt Col (ret) Wendy Rogers Launches Campaign for AZ01

Wendy Rogers

(Flagstaff, AZ) – Lt Col (ret) Wendy Rogers announced her candidacy for the first congressional district of Arizona today. The retired US Air Force pilot and conservative Republican business owner pledged to fight for conservative values, stronger national security and a restoration of the “culture of service” in Washington, DC.

“This is a campaign for the people and the values of AZ-1,” Rogers stated. “As a dawn-to-dusk, hardworking candidate, I plan to travel to the voters, so I can listen first-hand to them on their very doorsteps. I am passionate about taking their messages and stories back to Washington so they are heard,” she said. Arizona’s 1st Congressional District is roughly the size of the state of Georgia. Col Rogers, who owns her own small aircraft, will fly into all parts of the district.

Rogers noted, “For the past 150 years, my family has carried on a legacy of service to our country during times of danger. I strongly believe we need leaders in federal government who have firsthand working knowledge overcoming military and security challenges, especially during this dangerous era as America faces terrorist groups like ISIS.” She continued, “I also believe Washington DC appallingly lacks a ‘culture of service’. Politicians forget it is they who work for us, the American people, not we who work for them. Electing more career politicians is not the way to fix this.”

For her mission, Col Rogers unequivocally states, “I am running for Congress because I am called to serve and have been gifted with unique qualifications to accomplish the mission to make America safer and restore the “culture of service” in our government.”

Rogers’s congressional priorities will be to:

  • Strengthen our national security and border security;

  • Defend Arizona landowners and small businesses from federal overreach and return federally-controlled land to the state of Arizona;

  • Safeguard our water and mineral rights and our international treasure, the Grand Canyon;

  • Stand up for farmers, ranchers, our 2nd Amendment rights, and the rural way of life;

  • Protect the rights of veterans, retirees, and the Native American population;

  • Put an end to the culture of cronyism and corruption in Washington.

Lt Col (ret) Wendy Rogers and her husband Hal are both retired career US Air Force officers. Since 1997, they’ve owned a home inspection business covering four counties spanning northern to southern Arizona. Col Rogers is a businesswoman, teacher, social worker and grandmother. She and Hal own their retirement home in the midst of where they do business in Flagstaff, Arizona. Please visit WendyRogers.org for more information.

Wendy Rogers: F­35 Fighter Program Vital to National Defense

By Wendy Rogers, Lt Col USAF (ret)

Wendy RogersHorrific terror attacks on America and our NATO allies in recent weeks should serve as powerful reminders of the importance of maintaining our country’s edge in matters of national defense.  As a career Air Force pilot who flew worldwide airlift and humanitarian missions, I understand firsthand the importance of ensuring our military is equipped with the absolute best technology we have to offer.

That is why, as a nation, it is critical we reaffirm our support to maintain full funding for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. America’s air superiority remains critical, not only to protect our brave men and women overseas, but to effectively fight enemies like ISIS – a terror threat which is metastasizing.

As ISIS spreads globally, the battlefield continues to change, too. We’re fighting a new kind of war, one that will likely be redefined time and again throughout the 21st Century.

America must innovate and upgrade our defense capabilities to have a meaningful impact in the Middle East and elsewhere. The fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet is quite simply the platform of future, representing the culmination of years of cutting-edge innovation, research, and development.

F35AZBut how does it take the fight to ISIS which relies on improvised weapons, social media, and religious extremism? ISIS doesn’t have jets, after all.

Never underestimate our enemy’s reach, even if its technology, military presence, and tactics are completely different from ours. The versatility and unmatched situational awareness of the F-35 makes it integral to fighting ISIS’s asymmetric threat.  The F-35’s ground-breaking communications systems also allow for better coordinated missions with our allies who have invested in the program. The F-35’s interoperability between the US and our NATO counterparts enables us to instantly adjust strategies to respond to unexpected, real-time changes on the ground, giving us greater flexibility and control.  Moreover, the F-35’s maneuverability and advanced missile detection systems safeguard our pilots from anti-aircraft fire for a distinct advantage.

In fact, Lt. Gen. Bogdan of the United States Air Force testified before Congress that “the combination of the F-35 being able to go where no other airplanes can go and its ability to see the battlespace in clarity, creates an advantage for the United States that is critical in future air dominance.”

We owe it to our brave men and women in uniform to provide the safest and most technologically advanced weaponry available. As the world’s greatest military force, we must continue to evolve to meet new types of threats that will no doubt emerge in the coming years and decades. The F-35 program is more than capable of helping us to accomplish both of these feats.

As a career Air Force pilot, I can say the F-35 is exactly what this country needs to not just keep up with – but to effectively combat – the threats we face on a global scale. I’ve been behind the program from the beginning as the vast majority of Arizona elected officials have been.

We must continue supporting the F-35 program in order to reap the benefits it will provide for decades to come.  Anything less will be needlessly wasting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to strengthen our armed forces to keep America safe and secure.

Lt Col Wendy Rogers and her husband are small business owners living in Flagstaff, serving communities in northern, eastern and southern Arizona.

Jeff Dial – Still Serving, Despite the IED’s of Politics

An Important Message from Jon C. Altmann, Military Retiree

Politics has gotten ugly.  It used to be a calling for decent folks who wanted to serve their community, run for office and try to serve.  They were not looking to get rich, gain further office – they only wish to serve.  State Senator Jeff Dial is one dedicated to serve.

Members of the Arizona Legislature serve for $24,000 annually.  The position takes a lot of hours when the Legislature in session.  One has to either be independently wealthy, be self-employed or have a very, very understanding employer who will tolerate the absences from work.

Taking cheap pot-shots at those who are serving has become more commonplace.  It drives the question – why would someone want to take on the onslaught of nasty commentary, a lot of it often urban legends or simply made-up, put their spouse and children in the spotlight, and take on the task of representing us?

Along comes Jeff Dial.  He works hard as a businessman and for a period in his life, served in the Army Reserve.  He is part of the less than 1% in our nation that has volunteered to serve.  He passed boot camp.  Members of the National Guard and Reserve have two lives – their civilian life with a civilian boss/employer and their military life.  Often times, the military life interferes with the civilian life.&nnbsp; A lot of folks say they support the military, but the experience of more than two decades of service has taught me more of those employers and bosses simply say the word “support” – they don’t give it.

Jeff Dial has a lot in common with another great Arizonan who, decades before, volunteered to serve, served for a short period, and like Jeff, never went to war – the late John Driggs, former Phoenix Mayor and someone who kept working hard at making Arizona better after serving America for the short period he was in uniform.  John Driggs enlisted in the Navy near the end of World War II and just as he was graduating boot camp, the war ended.  John came home, used his G.I. Bill to get an education and buy a home.   John Driggs I know well, I presented his burial flag to his widow this past year – he was buried as a veteran.  He honorably served.  Jeff Dial has worked hard in public policy to bring folks together – like John Driggs.  Both humbly served.

Jeff, like many members of the National Guard and Reserve, had problems with the military’s height/weight standards.  I have been one of those myself.  Guard and Reserve must train on their own – yet are expected to maintain the same physical standards – including physical agility testing – as the active duty. When an active duty member fails one part of the process, they are given work time every day to “train” to overcome the failure.  Guard and Reserve have to steal more time from their civilian life.

Let me clarify – you can pass all the runs, push-ups and other exercises and make the times or better – but if your body fat measurement is too high, you fail the test.  On the other hand, you can be in great body fat measurement zone, pass all the test except you are slow on a 1.5 mile run, you fail.  The standards have become more rigid coincidental to force reductions.  It is hard work for reservists, who are generally older than most of those serving on active duty, to keep pace.  It means taking more time away from civilian employer and family.

If a military member is out of standard, they can be barred from reserve duty for medical reasons.  And the term “satisfactory participation” varies by service branch, and can be put on a military member for failure to pass the physical standards.  I challenge any other American to meet the same standards daily.  A Reserve or Guard member must effectively work at it each day – on their own time.  Active duty members get to do it on “company time.”

In politics there are winners and losers.  I’ve been on the losing side twice.  I did not go away – in fact, I continued to work my passion to help others and have many times gone to our Legislature to advocate for veterans, military families, public safety and public education.  I work with those who defeated me and work with those who supported me.  Sour grapes has not been in my diet.

Jeff Dial has a few political enemies – and those of us in the veterans community know those few – who have sour grapes  because they have lost to Jeff in past elections.  They have been saying Jeff has lied about his military service and recently got The Arizona Republic to pick apart the issue.  They found that Jeff did what he said – that he simply served in the Army Reserve and has an honorable discharge.  I’ve known Jeff politically for several years.  I have never known him to brag anything about his military service, except to say he served.

Where’s the issue?

Important for veterans, Reserve, National Guard and military families – including those families of Reserve and Guard members – Jeff Dial has been a consistent vote for meaningful, thoughtful legislation that helps veterans and military families.   He has had enough service to understand the issues and be thoughtful on bills – and he has voted for bills that some of his Tea Party Republican caucus mates have turned down.  Some of those bills that the “Tea Party” folks declined are ones that help veterans.

I am in an unique position – years ago I was a news reporter for The Phoenix Gazette and later a manager in the circulation department of the Republic and Gazette.  During my many years of service at the newspaper, I was serving in the Navy Reserve.  I came to work one day to learn that our publisher, Darrow “Duke” Tully had falsified an entire career as an Air Force officer.  He wore uniforms to military events, he bragged about his service and put out that he had even earned the rank of a senior Air Force officer before retiring form the Air Force Reserve.  But a political opponent went digging and found no service at all.

As a loyal employee of the paper, I was hurt.  Mr. Tully resigned and left town.

Jeff Dial earned his uniform and has not lied.  Yet, The Arizona Republic senses some story that he over-played his role in the Army Reserve, yet offers nothing concrete.  They readily state by one of their columnists that Jeff Dial has been a moderate Republican – something the editorial pages of The Republic seem to extol.  Yet they ran a story that has a questionable news value.  They fail to mention who brought them this “story.”  Now a group of Republican party precinct committeemen who say they are veterans are protesting.  I’m a Republican, too.  I left the ranks of being a “PC” some years back because I find that too many of the PCs are extreme in their views and generally don’t well represent the broader based views held by voters.  It is no secret that most GOP precinct meetings are dominated by the Tea Party emotions and don’t seem to want to get along.  President Gerald Ford said that we can disagree without being disagreeable.  I simply got tired of the many of the latter.  Now they are soap-boxing.

When I was reporter, my City Editor wanted me to be forthright in my sources and justify them before the paper ran one drop of ink.  I was brought up that the paper had to be beyond politics and reproach.  The lives and reputations of people could serious damaged by less than stellar research.

I am no novice to veterans issues.  I hold an elected national office, sit on two government commissions/advisory groups, one local and one Federal and have worked hard to get legislation passed and signed by the governor.  No easy task.  The cannon fodder being pointed at Jeff Dial are barrels of junk information attempting to besmirch the good efforts of State Senator Dial.  The slimy part of this is the fact that those firing the cannons could be termed “sore losers.” The perpetrators are in the shadows – and what do they have to say for their military records and why some of them are no longer serving?

I must question two things in this quest by some against Stat Senator Dial – why is the paper chasing this non-story and making attacks an office holder that generally meets the editorial positions the paper has taken?  More so, as someone who has been a career journalist and published writer, why didn’t the paper do a more careful due-diligence on who brought them the story and why?  The newspaper should not allow itself to be use for the sour grapes soap boxing of others, especially when the man involved had done nothing but tried to serve and did so honorably.

I spent 22 years serving active and reserve in national intelligence.  I have been a senior enlisted leader three times.  I can’t name all my commanding officers and I can’t recall all the junior enlisted leaders who worked under me.  I doubt seriously asking Jeff Dial, who was a private who tried serving diligently, asking Jeff about service 16 years ago is a worthy question.  Jeff is not alone in service members, active and reserve, we sent home for failing the rigorous physical standards.  We sent each of those folks home with honorable discharges because the military has at least the decorum to say they met the bar in being honorable.

If a hard-working veterans’ community advocate like myself knows the details easily and readily, why didn’t the paper’s news team?  Jeff Dial deserves an apology.  From me, a retired senior enlisted leader, Jeff Dial gets my thanks for showing up and trying to serve our nation.  Only 17% of all us who serve, active or reserve, stay for 20 more years as a career.  Jeff Dial was among the 83% who came, gave his country some time – and now as an elected official – continues to help veterans and all Arizonans.  We cannot defend America without the 83% that Jeff Dial is part of.

Jeff has done more than 99% of everyone else (because only 1% of Americans today have served) – and he continues to serve, despite bush league shots at this character.  This grateful veterans advocate thanks Jeff not only for his service in uniform, but the continued service to veterans he has done as a legislator.

About Jon Altmann

 Jon Altmann is a retired U.S. Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer, having served active and reserve service for 22 years.  He currently serves as an elected national officer of one veterans organization, along with serving on two public bodies, one national the other local, concerned with veterans and military retirees.  He is a former newspaper reporter who went onto working more than two decades in the public safety field, mostly as a top end manager or executive.  He is a graduate of Arizona State University and additional course work through the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Office of Naval Intelligence.  His last four assignments were as a senior enlisted leader in major intelligence community commands. Comments and opinions expressed by Jon C. Altmann are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Defense, the U.S. Navy, or any of the organizations he volunteers his time in helping others.

MILITARY BETRAYED BY MCCAIN! McCain Screwing Troops With More Cuts

troopsThe Hill is reporting the Senate Armed Services Committee is considering measures that would cut military pensions, increasing out of pocket healthcare expenses and fees, lowering the ‘COLA’ (cost of living allowance), among other ways to reduce the military budget.

Similar measures have already been passed and signed into law during last December’s lame-duck session without any protest from McCain in spite of Conservative talk show hosts such as Hugh Hewitt’s effort to stop them.

Military Advocacy groups have lost the battle in the lame duck session but have regrouped and are lobbying hard to prevent further cuts to the military budget as many families state they cannot afford to bear any more of the burden.

“I think they’re good… It was a good performance by the commissioners…” Liberal Senator John McCain

As it stands, liberal Sen. McCain, the head of the Armed Services Committee, has indicated that he is more than willing to accept more cuts that would adversely affect the families of troops and will continue to hold hearing on the matter.  It will be interesting to see if McCain maintains this anti-troop position of if he recalibrates to a ‘pro-troop’ position ahead of next year’s Senate Primary.

ArizonaInformer.com will monitor the situation closely.

 

ArizonaInformer.com‘s focus is to call out bias and activism by the local media, monitor Arizona’s institutional left, and to hold Republicans accountable to the grassroots.  It’s our primary mission to inform Arizonans with the Truth and amplify the voice of Citizen Journalists — all with a heavy dose of snark. #War

Kyrsten Sinema Airs Shameful Ad Exploiting Veteran’s Suicide

Wendy Rogers

Democrat Kyrsten Sinema Airs Shameful Ad Exploiting Veteran’s Suicide

(TEMPE, AZ) – Democrat Kyrsten Sinema recently launched a political ad entitled “Daniel” centering on the heartbreaking suicide of a soldier suffering from PTSD.

“I find it sickening that Kyrsten Sinema would air such an ad. It is revolting that she would attempt to exploit a soldier’s suicide for her own political gain. As a veteran and social worker, I find this ad to be exploitative, offensive, and in poor taste. It is absolutely vile that Kyrsten Sinema and her campaign team would even consider an ad like this, and I hope that she will immediately cease airing this ad and issue an apology,” said Wendy Rogers.

“By launching such a tasteless ad, Kyrsten Sinema is trying to distract from her record, as her rhetoric does not match reality. In 2012, she ran for Congress on the promise that she would help clear the VA backlog. Even though she knew there was a problem long before the issue hit national headlines when at least 40 veterans died, she did nothing to fix it. Sinema is a career bureaucrat and she has taken the typical Washington DC approach, standing by her fellow bureaucrats and calling for studies rather than immediate action. This has left veterans waiting for answers while Sinema puts her fellow bureaucrats ahead of her constituents,” said Rogers’ campaign manager, Martin Mastro. “Meanwhile, Wendy Rogers was the first to call for system administrators and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign, and she also urged the adoption of several policy proposals to help get the VA back on the right track. Arizona voters want a congresswoman who will focus on cutting through bureaucracy and getting the job done, not another career bureaucrat like Kyrsten Sinema who thinks that do-nothing government is acceptable. Our veterans deserve better.”

Wendy Rogers is a 5th-generation U.S. military officer, having retired from the U.S. Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel. She was one of the first 100 women to serve as a pilot in the Air Force, and she has made defending our veterans’ access to healthcare, education, and jobs one of her top campaign priorities.

 

Frank Riggs Supports Veterans Choice Act

Frank Riggs
Cave Creek, AZ – 
Gubernatorial candidate, former U.S. Congressman and Army veteran Frank Riggs today applauded Arizona’s U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, and their colleagues Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC), for introducing the Veterans Choice Act in the wake of the continuing VA scandal.  The bill will provide veterans with choice and flexibility in medical providers, and increase transparency and tighten accountability of the VA.  “The VA health care system is clearly overwhelmed and broken,” Riggs said.  “Routine VA health care should be contracted to private providers so that existing VA facilities can be used for acute and in-patient care, and the swollen VA bureaucracy should be held to account for the delays in care and manipulation of records systemic throughout the VA, as highlighted by the inexcusable and unconscionable practices at the Phoenix VA Hospital.”

Riggs served in Congress with Coburn and Burr.  He was instrumental in obtaining funding for a VA outpatient clinic at Travis Air Force Base and helped spare that Military Airlift Command installation from the first round of base closure cuts.  Riggs will use that firsthand experience to protect Arizona’s vitally important military installations, including Luke AFB, Fort Huachuca and Davis-Monthan AFB.

Riggs is the only candidate for Governor who has served in both the armed forces and Congress.  “It’s clear more than ever, we need an experienced, tested and trusted leader in the Governor’s office with a proven conservative record,” Riggs said.  “We can’t trust the highest office in our state to someone who’s a blank slate with no legislative record whatsoever to back their rhetoric and promises.”  For more on the Riggs Record go towww.riggsforazgov.com.

Full text of the Veterans Choice Act

Wendy Rogers: Phoenix VA Situation Requires Action

Wendy Rogers

When I heard at least 40 veterans had lost their lives waiting for care on a “secret list” at the Phoenix Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital, I was absolutely shocked.

Since then, no action has been taken to reduce the backlog or reverse the policies which placed veterans in harm’s way.  Care is not improving for veterans.  I know, because my husband and I are veterans and the wait and runaround at Phoenix VA are just as long-standing this week as they have been.  Instead, Congress keeps “studying” the problem and bureaucrats keep pointing the finger.

The United States of America has sunk to its lowest ebb by treating veterans this way.

As in any emergency, we must apply triage while fixing the long-term problem.  The top priority is to care for veterans NOW.

  • The VA should transfer primary care providers from northern tier VA facilities with adequate staff, in order to treat Phoenix VA’s backlog.
  • Concurrently, Phoenix VA should immediately hire 20 additional primary care providers, expediting the federal background investigation process from six weeks down to one week.
  • State licensed local primary care providers should be allowed to volunteer their services at Phoenix VA to ensure timely treatment for veterans.

Phoenix VA represents the perfect storm.  Over the years, northern tier veterans increasingly have moved south to use the Phoenix VA.  However, today’s patient load is based on a 2-year look-back funding model which is seriously flawed.  Phoenix VA’s rolls also have increased due to a sagging economy, as well as flight from Medicare and Obamacare.  Every one of these trends presented red flags, yet the leadership ignored them.  Consequently, brave veterans have died due to broken promises.

“Relieved of Command” is the phrase which best describes what should happen to the Secretary of the VA down to the multi-department leadership at the Phoenix VA Hospital. Being responsible for the lives of others means the person in charge bears full accountability for lost lives.  We in the military operate under that principle, as must the leadership of the VA.  This in fact is why the American Legion, with whom I agree, has called for the Secretary of the VA to resign.

With quick, decisive action, we can fix the problems with the Phoenix VA to ensure our veterans have access to healthcare.  Over time, we can make long-term fixes.  This is what we do, because we are America.

Lt Col Wendy Rogers (ret) is the Republican candidate for Congress from AZ-09.  She is a 5th-generation career veteran and was one of the first 100 women pilots in today’s Air Force.