Sen. John Walsh: Serving you the most important job I have

2014-08-17T00:00:00Z Sen. John Walsh: Serving you the most important job I haveBy SEN. JOHN WALSH The Billings Gazette
August 17, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Public service has always run deep in my blood.  Nothing is more important to me than giving my all to the people of our great state--for 33 years as a soldier, then as your lieutenant governor, and now as Montana's U.S. Senator.

I served with thousands of Montanans in the National Guard during the past three decades. I'm inspired by their courage and their mission to put service ahead of self.

I accepted the responsibility of filling the remainder of Sen. Max Baucus' term with great respect for the people of our state.  Since February, with input from Montanans, we prioritized responsible spending cuts.  We protected our most vulnerable people.  And we called attention to the devastating scourge of suicide among America's veterans.

This summer, news of a 2007 research paper from my time at the U.S. Army War College eclipsed the debate over those important issues.

I take full responsibility for that paper.  I apologize to the people of Montana for my mistake. Due to the distraction it caused, I ended my Senate campaign in order to focus on fulfilling the most important job I have: Serving you in the Senate.

That will remain my commitment to all Montanans. In the military, we don't let party politics or personal ideologies get in the way of a mission.  It won't get in the way of my mission to serve you.

We have a lot of work to do from now until Montana's next U.S. Senator takes over.

I'm hopeful the Senate will pass the Suicide Prevention for America's Veterans (SAV) Act later this fall.  I'm proud that bill has support from Democrats and Republicans.  Frankly, serving our veterans is a responsibility that belongs to all of us.

I am committed to protecting the future of Medicare from those who want to privatize it. I believe in strengthening Social Security for future generations.

We must cut tax loopholes that allow big corporations to ship American jobs overseas. This summer I introduced a bill to encourage businesses to bring those jobs home to America.

I will always fight for the freedom of health care for all women. And the right of sovereignty for our friends in Indian Country.

I remain committed to protecting Montana's clean air and water.  I strongly support smart, homegrown legislation like the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act and Sen. Jon Tester's Forest Jobs and Recreation Act.  I support full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  And I look forward to pushing legislation to designate the East Rosebud Creek as a Wild and Scenic River.

Since I became your U.S. Senator, I have never stopped working for you.  Just like my year commanding troops in Iraq, it’s a 24-7 responsibility.  In the weeks ahead, I will continue coming home often to hear your feedback, to listen to your ideas, and to work every day for you, your families, our children, our businesses and the environment we all share.

Putting Montana first has always been fundamental to my life.  And I'm proud to continue that public service on your behalf.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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