Another Slap to Veterans

Vote June 3, 2014
Vote June 3, 2014

Last year I filed with the FEC to run for California's 45th Congressional District, and I recently turned in all the required signatures to the Orange County Office of the Registrar for inclusion on the June 2014 primary ballot.

Like other non-incumbent candidates, I was limited to three self-descriptive words below my name on the ballot, all while incumbents and elected officials could use a larger amount of space to puff up their credentials. Yet another law that handicaps non-incumbents and entrenches the current governing elite.

Nevertheless, within these constraints, I chose the three words "USMC Combat Veteran," which describe my life and personal history best. However, the California Secretary of State handbook disallowed me from using those words and I was forced to pick three other words to describe me.

I am saddened, as I am sure other proud veterans would be, that I was prohibited to use the word "Veteran" to describe myself to voters. It's a shame to forbid patriotic veterans to describe themselves as such. Those who served our country with honor and distinction and whom want to run for public office should be allowed to represent themselves honestly and without artificial limitations. Colonel Greg Raths USMC (RET)

Tom Cagley February 18, 2014 at 08:14 AM
I'm curious, Colonel, what did the Sec of State was the reason you could not use the three words? USMC, Combat, Veteran? Is there a state statute against it? Have you thought about or tried, to get the VFW and American Legion to rally behind you?
Gregory Raths February 18, 2014 at 09:40 AM
Tom, Here is out of the Sec of State handbook: They say 'Veteran' is a status and does not properly identify who I am. Obviously, I disagree, and yes I am working with the Veteran organizations to change this ASAP. UNACCEPTABLE BALLOT DESIGNATIONS: CA Admin Code, Title 2, Division 7, 20716(b)(3) states "A status is generic in nature and generally fails to identify with any particular specificity the manner by which the candidate earns his or her livelihood or spends the majority of his or her time. Examples of status include, but are not limited to: Veteran, philosopher, husband, wife......"
PTB February 18, 2014 at 10:10 AM
How sad. ABSOLUTELY work to change that. Thank you for your service
Dee FitzGerald February 18, 2014 at 11:06 AM
Great point, Greg! The strange thing is that there are few words that encompass so many good traits as "veteran", military or otherwise: such as integrity, honor, dependability and team player. One would think voters would be interested in those characteristics.
Tom Cagley February 18, 2014 at 11:14 AM
Greg, as a career Army guy, I suppose USMC is suspect as a status: :) We need to change this, it is ridiculous. I much prefer a veteran to a "career politician" as a status!
MFriedrich February 18, 2014 at 12:00 PM
This is strange. The state code of regulations seems to want this filled out as either occupation, vocation or occupation, and carefully defines what these words are to mean in 20714 a.1., a.2., a.3. with examples. Full list here: http://www.sos.ca.gov/admin/regulations/elections/ballot-designations.htm#20716 The common theme of what they're looking for seems to be "employment", even if that's as a "Lutheran pastor" or a "homemaker". Past military service, and/or lack thereof, appears to be intentionally omitted from mention or made irrelevant by these rules from the CA secretary of state office, unless you're active duty, which is a ridiculous. Who is active duty AND putting their name on the ballot for political service? The rules seem to reflect the wholesale depreciation of trust in attorneys, CEOs and career politicians over the last two decades. Then ex-military personnel come in to politics with fancy ideas of organization, order, discipline, accountability and change. In government, "ain't nobody got time for that!"
Tom Cagley February 18, 2014 at 12:11 PM
MF: You said a mouthful. If you read about Nelson over the weekend, gets a free car with maintenance from SCAQMD and still draws about $10K a year from the County as a Supervisor's car allowance. Which, he said, he doesn't use as he drives the AQMD vehicle for 'nearly everything!' I bet his listing is either attorney or Supervisor, or elected public official!
Steve Thompson February 18, 2014 at 05:27 PM
Wonder if "MAD AS HELL" would be OK. Or for me "NOT VERY LIBERAL" sounds good. I don't get it. If you were a school teacher for the past 20 or 30 years, they would accept "SCHOOL TEACHER", but combat veteran is a no no. Only a person who never served his country could come up with that. Pathetic.
Tom Cagley February 18, 2014 at 07:16 PM
Well, remember, our two senators and entire state-wide government are Democrats. The Democrat party has never liked the military. Remember, it was First Lady Clinton who forbade uniforms being worn in the White House, and President Clinton who abandoned the soldiers in Somalia!
Gregory Raths February 18, 2014 at 09:04 PM
I am retired. So I guess I have to put that down. Crazy
Gregory Raths February 18, 2014 at 09:08 PM
So much for my military background. Anyway I ask for your votes on June 3, 2014. Pass the word. GREG
MFriedrich February 19, 2014 at 02:03 PM
Tom, Evidence points to a lot of US military interventions under Clinton. The list is quite long. I agree that Somalia was a clusterf. Also Hill 937 and the Iraq War were clusterf's. I'm not convinced that left- or right-leaning political affiliation correlates in any way with actual US military success or failure in the field. Historically Democrats have demonstrated their own love affair with military interventions to solve foreign policy problems. In my opinion, they've shown the same lack of respect and distaste for US soldiers and their families as their Republican counterparts. The main issue for Mr. Rath is why can't he display his military service as part of his candidate description. I think it's b.s. that he cannot. But I also think, and I believe Mr. Rath's recognizes this better than most, that anyone going into politics, whether a soccer mom from Pasadena, a successful"job creator" small business man, or a former US soldier, doesn't mean they have a free pass from critical questions about policy, priorities, decision-making, cooperation and even ethics. As a voter, what I care about are vision, policy, problem solving, and action. It's 2014 so no one escapes the bullsh$% meter. People who care about the blue vs. red already watch FOX and MS-NBC. No need to waste money pandering to those constituents because they've made up their mind already. Politicians need to care about swing voters and recruiting them to the cause.


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