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Friday, May 25, 2012

 1:54 PM 

Group criticizes Walker over veterans' issues

The group Veterans Against Walker criticized the guv today for a variety of issues they said demonstrate Gov. Scott Walker's lack of concern for veterans.

Retired Lt. Col. Mike Gourlie detailed his efforts to get the governor and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs to either veto or oppose the repeal of Wisconsin's Equal Pay Act. Gouile contends the new law severely limits the ability of veterans to address employment discrimination.

"The secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs refused to address this issue when contacted," Gourlie said. "And Secretary Scocos himself has a pending lawsuit for employment discrimination when he was fired by the Board on Veterans Affairs for cause a couple of years back. You would think if anyone should understand the importance of having good employment discrimination laws in place for veterans it would be John Scocos."

Gourlie said when he attempted to contact Walker about vetoing the bill he did not get a response until after the bill had been signed.

"And the governor's response stuck to the obviously preconceived talking points of denying the impact this has on veterans," Gourlie said.

Gourlie was part of a group of about 15 veterans assembled in Red Arrow Park in downtown Milwaukee this morning. Among them were current and former public officials who had served in the military.

Milwaukee Co. Supv. John Weishan Jr., a former Marine, said Walker had underfunded veterans services and the Milwaukee County War Memorial during his time as Milwaukee County executive.

Former Milwaukee Co. Supv. Roger Quindel, who served in Vietnam, said the guv has not provided leadership on a variety of issues.

"The most important thing for a soldier is to have good leadership," Quindel said. "And then when you think about good leadership, I want you to think about what kind of leader we have in Walker."

Quindel also pointed to aspects of the ongoing John Doe investigation, noting former Walker aides have been accused of embezzling from a veterans event.

"And he [Walker] thinks it's OK, he's not responsible," Quindel said. "We all know a good leader says I'm responsible for what happens behind me and any leader who hired people like this doesn't deserve to be in office."

The group was scheduled to hold another press conference in Green Bay this afternoon.


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