Lawmakers On Stage As Indiana American Legion Re-Emerges As Political Player

Jul 09, 2013, 14:36 ET from American Legion Department of Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, July 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With two United States Senators, U.S. Representative Susan Brooks (R-5th), as well as Indiana Governor Mike Pence and Indianapolis' Mayor Greg Ballard addressing the 95th annual State Convention of the Indiana American Legion this weekend, the state's largest veterans' group is flexing its political muscle once again. "Political, yes. Partisan, no. Absolutely not," outgoing Legion Commander Richard A. Jewell said.

"Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly and Republican Sen. Dan Coates both have accepted our invitation to address the convention – Sen. Donnelly on Friday and Sen. Coates on Saturday. Both the Mayor and the Governor will address the delegates on Friday, as will Rep. Brooks.

"In addition, eight members of the Indiana General Assembly will be on hand Saturday morning to be recognized for their legislative efforts on behalf of veterans, efforts ranging from naming a section of Interstate 69 to providing outstanding opportunities for veteran education, employment and business," Jewell said.

Sen. Donnelly is scheduled to speak at approximately 2:30 PM, Friday, July 12. Sen. Coates will address the delegates at approximately 9:15 AM Saturday, July 13. Governor Pence and Mayor Ballard are scheduled for Friday, July 12, 2013, at 3:00 PM and 2:15 PM, respectively.

Rep. Brooks' address is scheduled for 3:30 PM on Friday, and all eight members of the Indiana General Assembly will share the platform at approximately  9:00 AM on Saturday.

Department Commander Jewell said the resurgence of political dialogue by The American Legion is not only long overdue, but a natural outcome of the organization's growing concern over issues that affect Hoosier veterans every day.

"We worked closely with our representatives on both sides of the aisle this session, and we are very proud of their hard work. Not every effort was successful, of course, but it is important that veterans' issues get a fair hearing, and our representatives engage in a dialogue with us," he said.

"That is why we have invited so many important elected officials to be with us this weekend. This should come as no surprise to anyone. Our members are as diverse as our population, and their views are just as diverse. We have too long neglected our responsibility to enter the political dialogue, and our comrades have paid a price for it – especially the latest generation of veterans. Well, no more."

SOURCE American Legion Department of Indiana