DES MOINES — A group of 54 Iowa veterans announced its support for Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign with members planning to serve on a new Iowa Veterans and Military Families for Hillary leadership council unveiled Wednesday.
Council members include former Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell of Davis City, retired U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin of Cumming, at least nine current and former state legislators and the 2016 Democratic candidate in Iowa’s 3rd congressional district.
The Hillary for Iowa organization announced the list on the day Clinton and Republican rival Donald Trump were to participate in a commander-in-chief forum on NBC and MSNBC focusing on national security, the military and veterans’ issues. An NBC News/SurveyMonkey Weekly Election Tracking Poll shows Trump leading Clinton by 19 points — 55 percent to 36 percent — among voters who are currently serving or have previously served in the U.S. military.
During campaign speeches in recent weeks, both candidates contended the other is unfit to be the nation’s commander in chief.
On the campaign trail Wednesday, Trump laid out several proposals designed to update and upgrade America’s military, including asking top U.S. generals to present a plan to defeat and destroy ISIS within 30 days after he takes office.
Other ideas include asking Congress to eliminate the defense sequester and submitting a federal budget with money to rebuild the U.S. military, developing a state-of-the art missile defense system, modernizing naval cruisers, and conducting a thorough review of U.S. cyber defenses to identify vulnerabilities.
In announcing the Iowa group Wednesday, Hillary for Iowa officials said Clinton has fought for veterans and military families throughout her career as a former secretary of state, U.S. senator and first lady, and has put forth a comprehensive plan to support veteran and military families as president.
“She knows that we are stronger when we work with our allies around the world to keep us safe, and has put forward real plans to deal with the threat of ISIS and broader terror threats,” reads a statement put out by Hillary for Iowa.
Boswell, who spent 12 years in the U.S. House, 12 years in the Iowa Senate and more than 20 years in the U.S. Army — including two tours of duty in Vietnam and two tours of duty on NATO assignments in Europe — said “America's greatness requires diplomatic and military leadership within the complex world we live in.”
He said he is backing Clinton and believes the nation and the world would be best served by her experience and “steady hand to make the tough calls” from the moment she takes office. “She never backs down, she never gives up, and she's a fighter who knows how to win the tough fights,” Boswell said.
In advance of the focus on security and military issues, Trump issued a letter Tuesday signed by 88 retired generals and admirals who support his candidacy. Clinton’s campaign countered by announcing the endorsements of 95 retired generals and admirals who back her presidential bid and pointed to Trump’s criticism of a Gold Star family and war veteran Sen. John McCain.
Included in the Hillary for Iowa news release is a statement from Marc Wallace of Des Moines, a U.S. Army Intelligence Corps and Iowa National Guard veteran who is serving on Clinton’s leadership council. Wallace contrasts Clinton’s readiness as commander in chief versus Trump’s qualifications.
“Trump is erratic, vindictive and thin-skinned,” Wallace said. “He praises dictators, trash talks America and threatens to abandon our allies. His dangerous rhetoric and dangerous policy proposals play into the hands of terrorists. It’s not a choice between a Democrat and a Republican, but between a responsible leader like Hillary Clinton who will keep us safe, and a volatile man like Donald Trump who threatens our security.”
Included in the list of Iowa veterans and military families for Hillary are the following people:
l Betty Abrams, Blencoe, U.S. Army, Persian Gulf Desert Storm
l Tim Arnold, Marion, U.S. Air Force, Operation Enduring Freedom
l Tom Avenarius, Asbury, U.S. Army, Vietnam
l David Blair, Creston, U.S. Army
l Harold Blatt, Manchester, U.S. Army, Vietnam
l Congressman Leonard Boswell, Davis City, U.S. Army, Vietnam
l Ken Briggs, Clive, U.S. Air Force, Vietnam
l Ben Cobley, Des Moines, U.S. Army, Operation Enduring Freedom
l Rep. Dennis Cohoon, Burlington, Iowa National Guard
l Sen. Tom Courtney, Burlington, Iowa National Guard
l Sen. Jeff Danielson, Cedar Falls, U.S. Navy
l Sen. Dick Dearden, Des Moines, Iowa National Guard
l Paul Deaton, Solon, U.S. Army
l Sen. Bill Dotzler, Waterloo, U.S. Army, Vietnam
l John Eppolito, Sioux City, U.S. Air Force, Vietnam
l Scott Foens, Marion, U.S. Air Force
l Dan Grinstead, Iowa City, Iowa National Guard, Operation Enduring Freedom
l David Grussing, Armstrong, U.S. Army, Operation Enduring Freedom
l Ben Guise, Des Moines, U.S. Air Force
l Ron Healey, Durango, U.S. Army, Vietnam
l Tim Hejhal, Osage, Iowa National Guard
l Miyoko Hikiji, Urbandale, U.S. Army, Operation Iraqi Freedom
l Danny Homan, Urbandale, U.S. Army, president of AFSCME Council 61 and vice chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party
l Sen. Wally Horn, Cedar Rapids, U.S. Army
l Laura Hubka, Riceville, U.S. Navy
l Matt Johnson, Des Moines, Army National Guard, Operation Iraqi Freedom
l Carl Johnson, Wellman, U.S. Marine Corps, Vietnam
l Rep. Jerry Kearns, Keokuk, U.S. Air Force
l Stan Klein, Lu Verne, U.S. Army, Vietnam
l Justin Knight, Winterset, Iowa National Guard
l Former state legislator Bob Krause, Fairfield, U.S. Army
l Jeffrey Lierow, Des Moines, U.S. Army
l Salvador Lopez, Bettendorf, U.S. Army, World War II
l Bob Meddaugh, Des Moines, U.S. Navy, Vietnam
l Rep. Brian Meyer, Des Moines, Iowa National Guard
l Joe Michalec, Cedar Rapids, U.S. Air Force, Gulf War
l Jim Mowrer, Des Moines, U.S. Army, Iraq
l Peter Olafsen, Cresco, U.S. Army
l Graci Orozco, Waukee, U.S. Army, Operation Enduring Freedom
l Edgar Ortiz, Des Moines, U.S. Army
l Will Overstreet, Cedar Falls, Iowa National Guard, Afghanistan
l Denise Payne, Des Moines, U.S. Air Force
l Terry Philips, Washington, U.S. Navy
l Kevin Powers, Waterloo, U.S. Navy
l Todd Prichard, Charles City, Iowa National Guard, Operation Enduring Iraqi Freedom
l Kathryn Robinson, Central City, U.S. Army, Operation Desert Storm
l William Schoenenberger, Des Moines, U.S. Army, Vietnam
l Michelle D. Servadio, Davenport, U.S. Army, First Gulf War
l Joe Stutler, Marion, U.S. Army
l Judy Voss, Davenport, U.S. Air Force
l Marc Wallace, Des Moines, Iowa National Guard
l Steve Wikert, Cedar Falls, U.S. Navy, Vietnam
l Angela Young, Des Moines, U.S. Army Reserve