I’d like to address the claims in Sen. Martha McSally’s recent op-ed on the “truth.” Ok. Let’s talk about the truth.
To explain why I’m concerned with the truth, it helps to explain my background. I had the honor of serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for 10 years before discharging for medical reasons. As a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, I swore an oath that I would support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
McSally had to swear the same oath, first as an Air Force pilot and again as a Congresswoman and a U.S. Senator. We aren’t allowed to pick and choose the parts of the Constitution we support — we have to defend all of them. And that includes the First Amendment affirming the freedom of the press. We need men and women asking our leaders tough questions. That’s the reason we have a First Amendment. And that’s why I’m so disappointed in McSally’s response to a very basic question about the Senate considering new evidence in the impeachment trial, branding herself as a trusted truth-teller when her history with the truth is questionable at best.
In Arizona, we don’t get to see our elected leaders every day. We lead busy lives, and unless a senator or a member of Congress holds a town hall, we won’t be able to talk to them one-on-one. McSally, for her part, hasn’t held a town hall in nearly three years. That’s three years without Arizonans having the opportunity to ask McSally how she voted on this or that issue, and three years without Arizonans being able to hold her accountable to when she misleads us on those issues.
And when she has spoken about the issues, she never tells the truth. She never tells the truth about her vote to eliminate pre-existing conditions for millions of Arizonans, she never tells the truth about her vote to re-institute the AARP-dubbed “age tax,” which would charge Arizonans 50 and over five times more than younger Arizonans, and she never tells the truth when asked about her plan to ensure Arizonans are protected if the lawsuit to eliminate health care that’s currently in the courts due to votes she’s taken succeeds. That’s why it’s personal for me.
A pre-existing condition is why I’m no longer serving in the military. Nearly 14 years ago, I was outside running when I felt what I thought was a bee sting in my leg. The pain turned out to be symptoms that put me at a severe risk of a pulmonary embolism. After immediate medical treatment, doctors found over 30 blood clots in my lower extremities including a blockage in my femoral vein. If anyone of those clots broke free, I could have lost my life. I was later diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis. My life now includes daily blood thinners, frequent visits to the doctor, and regular physical therapy. I get my health care through the VA, but thanks to the Affordable Care Act, if I need it, private insurance can never deny me coverage for my pre-existing condition. And that’s true for the 2.8 million other Arizonans with pre-existing conditions. McSally likes to say her military background taught her to call it straight and not soften her words. Well, same here, senator. But on health care and so many other issues, she’s not calling it straight. Martha, from one Arizona veteran to another, it’s time you give us an honest answer about your record.
Joanna Sweatt is the chief operating officer for The Veterans Directory.