Vukmir, Sen, Baldwin attend candidate forum on veteran's issues

Published: Oct. 12, 2018 at 6:55 PM CDT
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Veterans now have a better idea of how Wisconsin's candidates for U.S. Senate plan to handle issues they face after a roundtable discussion held Friday in Stevens Point.

Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin and her Republican challenger, Leah Vukmir, both appeared at the candidate forum. They each gave an opening statement, and answered the same questions, including how they plan to deal with certain veteran issues.

"We want to make sure that we are electing people that will be making sure that we're taken care of properly," said Al Labelle, Team Leader for Wisconsin Benefits Protection.

The two candidates addressed veterans at the Disabled American Veteran's Wisconsin Fall Conference.

"The public needs to know what our senators, our candidates views are on these very important issues to the veteran community, and definitely veterans need to know what their stances are," said Labelle.

The forum was a moderated question and answer session, giving each candidate an opportunity to talk about their platforms concerning certain veteran's issues.

"And I want you to know that you have my commitment that your care and the needs that you have will be met and that's why I have been somebody that has fought so hard in Wisconsin to look within and find waste and there is waste in Government," said Vukmir.

"The point is not to ignore the real pain that veterans may experience, either visible or invisible, but to provide as many alternatives as possible so that veterans can get safe care to deal with these real issues," said Sen. Baldwin.

In attendance was the family of Jason Simcakoski, the Stevens Point veteran who died from over-prescription of drugs from the Tomah VA. His parents have shown support for Sen. Baldwin, even appearing in campaign ads.

"Well, I certainly won't turn my back on the Tomah VA as my opponent did. It really is a defining difference between Senator Baldwin and myself. I know she wants to run away from it and I know it's admirable that the family of Jason Simcakoski have forgiven her," said Vukmir.

"We worked on a solution that holds the VA accountable, strengthens oversight of their prescribing practices, and provides safer care for our veterans to prevent a tragedy like Jason's loss from happening again," said Sen. Baldwin.

On Saturday, Sen. Baldwin and Vukmir will be in studio at NewsChannel 7 to debate. It's hosted by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. The panelists for that debate are local media representatives, including Holly Chilsen and Jeff Thelen. The debate will be moderated by WBA Hall of Fame member Jill Geisler. You can watch the debate live on NewsChannel 7 starting at 7:00 p.m.

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