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Gov. Gregoire wraps up speech to standing ovation from veterans

Post by News Tribune Staff on May 21, 2008 at 11:18 am with No Comments »
May 21, 2008 11:18 am

Governor Chris Gregoire spoke to a crowd of about 40 veterans and supporters at the VFW in North Tacoma this morning. She said she’s helped pass 47 bills for veterans’ issues, and still isn’t finished.

“As you know, it’s been said that veterans are close to my heart, and one in particular,” she said, nodding at “First Mike.” She said her husband will ask her before bed whether she’s gotten a bill out of committee and, if she hasn’t, what’s taking so long. (I have heard many stories about lobbyists following lawmakers into the bathroom, never this one…)

Gregoire has focused on healthcare and education in her previous stump speeches. But today, she spoke almost exclusively about veterans’ issues (as you might expect the week before Memorial Day, speaking at a VFW hall…).

Before Gregoire spoke, several veterans talked about the work she’s done to help them. Skip Dreps, a lobbyist for veterans affairs, thanked Gregoire for her efforts and, in an awkward moment, President George W. Bush.

“His stimulus check is going to help me support my next governor,” he said, to laughter.

Dreps also said Gregoire’s support for veterans was unique because of “her belief that veterans’ benefits are not welfare, they’re an entitlement,” he said.

Maurice Sharp, a retired major who served in Vietnam and Korea, said veterans have benefited from Gregoire’s leadership over the past four years and now it’s their turn to repay the favor.

“Life is a two-way street. It is time for us to step up to the plate as individuals and reelect Gov. Gregoire to another term in Olympia,” he said.

“As much as we’ve done, there’s more to do. Working together for four more years, we’ll get it done,” Gregoire said.

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