From Veterans for Bill Russell for Congress -
Lt Col William Russell Back On Duty
Bill Smith, ARRA Editorial: Two local papers in Pennsylvania's 12 District besmirched William (Bill) Russell (Republican for Congress) after their primary. The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown PA said in a spurious editorial: "William Russell - Missing in Action. 12th district candidate strangely silent. . . . And what we see now is a candidate who has been all-but-invisible . . . But we suspect Russell has done more damage to his election chances through his own lack of action . . . " The Herald, Sharon, PA carried the same story (word for word). Who ever wrote the story wrote without getting the facts or failed to reveal the facts. The facts show the papers owe William Russell an apology.
After winning a write-in primary effort to place him back on the November ballot, Lt Col William Russell, a member of the US Army Reserves, returned to "active duty" for the period April 30, 2008 to July 26, 2008. He has been working at the Pentagon. During this period William Russell is not permitted to campaign. Russell has been in the process of relocating his family from Virginia after his prior long term period on active duty. While he returned to PA and campaigned prior to the Primary, he allowed his children to finish school at his former duty location and for his wife to prepare for their permanent return home to PA. Now that the family is relocating, Russell makes the trip home on weekends to work on their home.
Today, I caught up with Russell today in his home in Johnstown, PA. He was back for the weekend and was working on their home. He made it clear he could not talk about his campaign until after July 26 and referred me to his campaign manager Peg Luksik.
Being a retired Air Force officer, I enjoyed swapping some old war stories with Lt Col Russell and sharing about our concerns for the security of our country. Russell never complained about the false comments made in the above reference articles. He said while others outside the district may not have know where he was, many of his future constituents knew he had returned to active duty during the lull after the primary. As a responsible person, he has to earn a living to care of his family. And as an Iraq veteran, he provides unique experience in addressing military contingency operations. However, Russell looks forward to being back full-time in the 12th District on July 27.
Peg Luksik, campaign manager for the William Russell for Congress, says she is preparing for Russell's return and for a "front porch" campaign as they meet with voters through out the district. She realized that voters attention wanes after a primary, but said Russell is ready to address voters concerns on the economy, energy, and the many other needs of the district. Although their opponent has a larger war chest, she believes the voters of District 12 have even larger hearts and are concerned about change including electing Russell to Congress.
It is disheartening that the local press could easily have learned of William Russell's return to "active duty." They used his absence from the area to promote sensationalism. But even worse, what if they actually knew Lt Col Russell was back on temporary active duty? In either situation, they insulted both their readers and Russell and they assaulted Russell's character by using military terminology like "Missing in Action" and "strangely silent." There is no excuse for not reporting Russell's return to active duty to "serve his country and the residents of the District 12." While an apology would be appropriate from the papers, I expect that none will be forth coming. It is hoped that voters of District 12 know well Murtha cronyism when the see it.
In closing, I have been asked why should I care about the Lt Col Bill Russell and the voters of the PA District 12. It is because literally millions of military and veterans like myself feel dishonored by Rep. John Murtha. He is such a disgrace, we cannot fathom that the voters in his district are not ready for a change. And this week again brought Murtha to our attention, when for the seventh time, charges against one of the eight Marines accused in the incident were dismissed, leaving just one case left. It was Rep. John Murtha who proclaimed without evidence that our Marines “killed innocent civilians in cold blood,” and now Murtha remains "strangely silent" with no comment on the dismissals. In addition, Murtha greed in controlling pork in Congress has led to his being called the "King of Pork." Not just for representing his district but for his internal hand in manipulating wasteful pork barrel spending across the United States. We hope that the voters of the 12th District will elect an honorable man like Lt Col Russell over the failed character and bad performance of "Jack" Murtha. It is Time for a Change!