The Norman Transcript

Headlines

November 24, 2012

More war veterans joining Congress

WASHINGTON — As Tammy Duckworth sees it, her path to Congress began when she awoke in the fall of 2004 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. She was missing both of her legs and faced the prospect of losing her right arm.

Months of agonizing therapy lay ahead. As the highest-ranking double amputee in the ward, Maj. Duckworth became the go-to person for soldiers complaining of substandard care and bureaucratic ambivalence.

Soon, she was pleading their cases to federal lawmakers, including her state’s two U.S. senators at the time — Democrats Dick Durbin and Barack Obama of Illinois. Obama arranged for her to testify at congressional hearings. Durbin encouraged her to run for office.

She lost her first election, but six years later gave it another try and now is one of nine veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who will serve in next year’s freshman class in the of House of Representatives.

Veterans’ groups say the influx of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is welcome because it comes at a time when the overall number of veterans in Congress is on a steep and steady decline. In the mid-1970s, the vast majority of lawmakers tended to be veterans.

For example, the 95th Congress, which served in 1977-78, had more than 400 veterans among its 535 members, according to the American Legion. The number of veterans next year in Congress will come to just more than 100. Most served during the Vietnam War era. In all, 16 served in Iraq or Afghanistan, not all in a combat role.

“We’re losing about a half a million veterans a year in this country,” said Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America. “We are not going to be in a world where a significant plurality of people spent some time in the military, so to have 16 men and women who fought in this current Congress is incredibly significant.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Headlines
  • Sam Noble honored with national medal

    The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma will be awarded the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community, OU announced Thursday....

    April 25, 2014

  • NPS announces severe weather procedures

    Norman Public Schools is clarifying new severe weather/tornado procedures with letters to parents and a website that details the district’s severe weather plan....

    April 25, 2014

  • Telling stories of a distant land

    Bakhtawar Aamire of Pakistan has been telling the same sad legend to Oklahomans for the past month. The story goes like this: Long ago, a young woman in love lived in the area that is now the city of Gujrat in the Punjab Province of ...

    April 25, 2014

  • Severe storms loom across central U.S. this weekend

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Forecasters are predicting a significant chance of strong tornadoes this weekend across a large part of the nation’s mid-section, an outbreak that could stretch from the Great Plains to the Midwest and South....

    April 25, 2014

  • Manufacturers see better times for economy, jobs

    NEW YORK — Companies are finally starting to spend some of the cash they’ve been sitting on, and that could mean a stronger economy and more jobs are on the way. Industrial companies such as General Electric, Honeywell and Caterpillar ...

    April 25, 2014

  • Workshop to empower young women

    BeautyIS, a free event targeted for girls ages 11 to 14 — with the purpose of helping them uncover the beauty within themselves — will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the LoveWorks Center, 127 Main St....

    April 25, 2014

  • Power outages reported

    Two electrical outages impacted hundreds of OG&E customers Wednesday evening. The first was caused by the failure of an underground cable and lasted one hour and 28 minutes, said James Chappel, OG&E community relations manager....

    April 25, 2014

  • Program offers immersion

    “It was the best year of my life” and “Yes, I would do it again” are frequent statements from young adults who have participated in the Rotary Youth Exchange. Everyone comes home changed from meeting the challenges and the successes of ...

    April 25, 2014

  • Holocaust survivor tells her story

    Eva Unterman saw black boots, guns and dogs. She did not understand the yelling or the violence. A young girl of 7, she only saw monsters in SS officers. Unterman did not understand until she was older that those SS officers were actually ...

    April 25, 2014

  • Crime briefs

    OHP dash cam records could go public The state Senate today passed a law that would require the Oklahoma Highway Patrol to abide by the state’s open records law....

    April 25, 2014