DNC RADIO ADDRESS:U.S. Air Force Major, State Senator Applauds G.I. Bill Passage and Rebukes McCain for Missing Vote

Boccieri Salutes Troops and Military Families Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend
Washington, DC - Ohio State Senator John Boccieri, a Major and Aircraft Commander in the U.S. Air Force Reserve who is running for Congress in Ohio's 16th district, delivered the Democratic radio address this week. Boccieri flew missions in Iraq and Afghanistan during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom in four separate deployments.
In his address, State Senator Boccieri congratulates Congress for passing the historic 21st Century G.I. Bill ahead of the Memorial Day weekend and points out that McCain did not show up to vote for the bill and support his fellow veterans. Boccieri, who flew Senator John McCain from Baghdad in 2005, also said he disagrees with the Bush-McCain approach of keeping our troops in Iraq indefinitely.

The transcript of the radio address is below.

To listen to the address, click here:

Transcript of Radio Address:

Good morning. My name is John Boccieri and I'm a state Senator from Ohio who's running for Congress in the 16th District. I'm also a Major, Aircraft Commander, and C-130 pilot in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. And, I've proudly served our nation while flying missions in Iraq and Afghanistan during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

During those four deployments, I airlifted wounded and fallen soldiers from Baghdad. I ask you to join me this Memorial Day as we salute our soldiers' duty, sacrifice and commitment for our country. Whether we agree with this war or not, we must thank the families of our soldiers' for their sacrifices here at home, and remember the great honor American soldiers bestow upon our country by placing themselves in harm's way.

While our brave soldiers honor America by standing up and fighting for us around the globe, we must honor them by standing up and fighting for them here at home. The best way to honor their service and sacrifice is to ensure they have the benefits they deserve and the resources they need to succeed when they come home.

If our veterans want to go to college, they should be able to do so the minute their boots hit the ground. I applaud leaders in Washington for passing the bipartisan 21st Century G.I. Bill to give today's new veterans the same educational benefits as our World War II veterans.

Sadly, President Bush has threatened to veto the bill. Senator John McCain, who hopes to take his place, not only opposed it, but when given the opportunity to support his fellow veterans on the eve of Memorial Day weekend, didn't even show up to vote nor express his concerns. Our veterans need to know that leaders in Washington have their back, and vetoing this measure will send a clear message that politics has defeated patriotism.

And while our soldiers fight abroad, their friends and families are fighting for economic relief here at home. As we spend billions on the war, hardworking middle class Americans are losing their jobs, paying more for food and gas, and going without health care.

American families are frustrated with unfair trade agreements that have cost Americans tens of thousands of good paying jobs. We need a change so that our troops can return to a robust and vibrant economy.

I am running for Congress to be a voice for change in Ohio and for our country. In the state legislature, I fought to create the Military Injury Relief Fund that helps injured soldiers transition back into civilian life and assists them with medical expenses. I've also fought hard to make sure National Guard and Reserve troops come home to their jobs when they return from battle.

I've witnessed first-hand the human costs of this war, and in 2005, I had the privilege of flying Senator McCain from Baghdad after visiting with the troops. We both saw the same situation on the ground; and I respectfully disagree with Senator McCain's approach to Iraq. I can't see how we can sustain a presence in Iraq for 100 years.

We need strong leaders in Washington who will bring our troops home from Iraq safely, honorably and soon. Neither President Bush nor John McCain has offered an exit strategy.

While the Iraq war is costing us greatly in human terms, the money American taxpayers are pouring into that country is staggering. We're spending more than $10 billion a month on the war while the quality of life for millions of Americans goes from bad to worse. We're building brand new roads and bridges, and schools in Iraq when we need the same things right here in Ohio and in communities across our country.

Millions in America live without adequate health care coverage yet our government has paid the bill to cover every Iraqi man, woman, and child. We can't afford four more years of the same failed policies.

It will take new leadership to bring real change to Washington.

We need a president and a Congress who will take care of our veterans and find a responsible way to leave Iraq so that we can invest in the American people and in American jobs.

We're proud of our troops fighting for us abroad. Let's make them proud of us by fighting for them here at home. They deserve nothing less.

I'm John Boccieri. I wish you and your family a blessed Memorial Day weekend. Thank you for listening.