An honor and a privilege to serve

An honor and a privilege to serve

At the end of a week where the wicked World seemed to be imploding all over from Dallas to Nice to Turkey, we here along the most conservative stretch of Old Route 66 have kept plugging along.  Aside from a few local candidates doing their due diligence of door knocking in their respective districts, several have stood down after the June 28th Primary.  Most of us have been content to sit back and watch in stunned amusement as the Presidential race becomes ever more strange in the run up to Convention Week.  I find it is very akin to watching a train wreck in slow motion.

Some of you regular readers may recall a few months ago Yours Truly was bestowed the honor by the Oklahoma Democratic Party Veterans Committee of being voted the 2016 Veteran of the Year.  It was a pleasant surprise which I neither sought nor expected.  I had only been the acting First Congressional District Veterans Committee representative for less than a year and had coordinated only one Veterans Legislative Open House back in March.  However, as circumstances evolve, the committee president had to resign his post after accepting appointment to the bench of the Oklahoma County District Court.  The committee vice-president also resigned for reasons unknown necessitating a special election to fill both vacancies for the remainder of the term of office which will end next January.

Saturday afternoon a few dedicated Oklahoma Democratic Veterans made their way to the newly relocated Oklahoma Democratic Party Headquarters at 3700 N. Classen Blvd in Oklahoma City.  By the end of our meeting we elected a Marine Corps veteran as President.  John Pettyjohn is a long time activist for Veteran causes and a resident of the OK 5th Congressional District.

ODP Veterans Committee President John Pettyjohn

ODP Veterans Committee President John Pettyjohn

Mr. Pettyjohn brings an impressive background to the table to serve as President of the Veterans Committee:

John Pettyjohn resume

I guess the biggest news of the day was Yours Truly was elected as ODP Veterans Committee Vice President unopposed by unanimous vote.  I jest ye not!  Other than precinct chairman, a grass roots sort of office that I have held in two Tulsa County precincts since 2009, this is the highest office I have attained within the Democratic Party.  I am more of a political operative than an activist and this is a calling where experience is maybe not imperative but it is certainly helpful.  It also helps to be motivated to effect change.  I seek to accomplish this motivation goal by helping to elect veterans and Democrats to our legislature and to all other public offices.

Duties of office include most of what I have already been doing as acting committee representative of the 1st CD which is advocating for veterans and veteran affairs issues and actively recruiting veterans as candidates for public office.   It also involves filling in at official functions for the President in his absence.  Going forward it is my intention to tap an underutilized resource for public service, that being the veteran community.

The Veterans Committee secretary will be the same Army veteran who was elected last year, that being Mr. Jim Huff.  The treasurer is still my fellow Navy veteran Ms. Alicia Wilkerson-Menz who was appointed to that office by the previous president earlier this year.

Speaking for myself, I consider this opportunity to serve to be an honor and a privilege.  Veterans Committee has been a body that for so long I was content to view from the outside looking in as a passive fixture in the state Democratic party apparatus.  This committee has the potential to be very influential in the party and I look forward to being a member of its leadership to build such influence.  A certain candidate for the office of President of the United States has grabbed onto one sentiment and displays it as if he invented it:  “Make America Great Again.”  What made America great in the first place was shared sacrifice.  At at time when over fifty percent of the adult male population was either in the service of or had served their country in the armed forces, a sympathetic Congress made sure those who did serve had the wherewithal to reap the benefits of their efforts when they completed their service obligation.  The Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944 aka The GI Bill served to help more people attend college and did more to create the American Middle Class of the 1950s and 60s that so many politicians would like to take us back to.  Veterans now constitute only 7.3% of the American public.  You wouldn’t think it would be hard to care for such a small segment of the population but Veterans benefits are now but a shadow of what they once were not all that long ago.  In the era of an all-volunteer military there seems to be a lot of lip service in support of the troops by those who craft policy concerning them but not so much in terms of legislation designed to benefit them after they serve.  It is the duty of the Veterans Committee to provide a sympathetic ear to all veterans and give input to legislators who write the laws on Veteran Affairs.  This is where the policy regarding the welfare of those who served begins.  It is our desire that the interest of veterans comes first in government or at least before those of defense contractors.  That may sound like a tall order but at the end of the day we can sleep well knowing our priorities are sound.

I look forward to serving in this post.

Oklahoma Dem Veteran

4 Comments

  1. Route66Kid
    Aug 6, 2016

    We have them at Oklahoma Democratic Party HQ. If you are able to make it to the next meeting we’ll see about getting you a few.

  2. Tony O'seland
    Aug 6, 2016

    I still want one of those patches. Where might I procure one?

  3. Tony O'seland
    Jul 20, 2016

    Standing to stand by, Stan. Let me know what you need and I’ll see if I can provide it.

  4. John pettyjohn
    Jul 17, 2016

    Thanks stan…looking forward to working with you