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Veterans, Democrats Attack Rep. Southerland On Veterans' Issues; Southerland Responds

Jessica Palombo

Military veterans are speaking out against U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, who is in a tight reelection race against former state lawmaker Al Lawson for his District 2 Congressional seat. The veterans spoke at a Tallahassee press conference organized by the Florida Democratic Party on Tuesday.

Southerland lives in the military town of Panama City. And he was chairman of the Bay County Military Affairs Committee. But Veterans like Dale Landry, of Tallahassee, say, they’re disappointed with the congressman’s voting record. Landry, says, he’s speaking out because of the oath he took as a serviceman.  

“We will protect and defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic, and we’re now home, and there’s a domestic enemy that’s threatening our fellow solders that are coming home," he said.

He said, Southerland voted against things like exempting veteran’s healthcare from spending cuts, expanding the veterans’ housing program and funding research and development for prosthetics.

In response, Southerland released this statement:

“It’s deplorable that Al Lawson would sink so low as to deceive our military heroes in an attempt to score cheap political points.  As a member of Congress, my most solemn duty is to ensure that our veterans and active duty military personnel receive the care and support from their government they deserve." 

“That’s why I voted to improve educational and employment opportunities for returning troops, while opposing the debt limit deal that would have cut $500 billion in defense funding.  I am also proud to have worked with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to introduce legislation that puts our veterans and active duty troops first when meeting spending obligations during a government shutdown.  Our veterans deserve leadership from their representatives, and all Al Lawson has proven is that he’ll fall right in line with the Obama-Pelosi smear machine.”