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Meyers: Send in a Marine

By Staff | Apr 17, 2008

Democratic candidate for U.S. House William Meyers and Dale Green of Estherville discussed the United States’ involvement in Iraq and other issues Wednesday at Mother Nature’s in Estherville. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

William Meyers wants you to sent in a Marine to straighten out the mess in Washington.

That was the message that Meyers, Humboldt native, former Marine, and Democratic candidate for Tom Latham’s 4th District House seat, told Emmet County Democrats Wednesday afternoon at Mother Nature’s in Estherville.

Meyers was quick to take something from both the Obama and Clinton campaigns as soon as he arrived. “I have a lot of both,” he said of both change and experience, the mantras of both Clinton campaigns.

Meyers was also quick to draw from his own experiences to show how he is qualified to make policy decisions in Congress.

In the Marines, Meyers was a terrorism specialist. However, he has not totally accepted the military’s way of doing business.

While stationed in London, he had the chance to use the British nationalized health system and found it excellent. He compared that with what he went through after he injured his back four months short of the end of his enlistment and the Defense Department denied his claims.

Meyers contacted U.S. Representative Tom Latham and Senators Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin. While Latham and Grassley said “keep trying”, according to Meyers, Harkin scheduled a “back door” appointment for him with the Veterans Administration hospital in Iowa City and he was in surgery eight to nine hours later.

Through his involvement with various veterans groups, Meyers has found that he was not alone in his experiences with the VA.

“The VA system is in dire straits. It needs to be changed,” Meyers said. He recommends keeping VA offices open to help veterans with psychological problems. However, as far as medical treatment is concerned, Meyers says the rest of the VA system should be scrapped and veterans should be able to see whatever doctor they want.

By providing for universal health care for veterans and children, the new system could be tested before being brought to the general public, Meyers said.

As another example, he told how he went to Austria as a civilian. He took the best of what he learned about the nationalized health system in Austria and brought back recommendations on how a similar system could be put in place in the U.S.

In fact, Meyers has a lot of good things to say about the Austrians.

“I learned how they solved their international issues without going to war,” Meyers said.

He said he found that the average American living abroad could have a better quality of life than in the U.S. However, he said he loved his country and wanted to put into practice some of the advantages that he saw in other countries, particularly in the area of health.

Meyers decried the decision by the U.S. to keep Baath party members from sharing in the new government following Saddam Hussein. As a result, he said our country’s involvement in Iraq will be long.

“We’re going to be there longer than people are saying,” Meyers said. “That’s for certain.

As for people saying if we don’t support the war in Iraq we don’t support the troops, said former Marine Meyers, “that’s nonsense“.

In a question-and-answer session that followed his initial remarks, Meyers addressed the issue of the environment and energy policy.

“I think we’ve seen a lot of environmental concerns go out the window in the last eight years,” Meyers said.

He offered concerns that ethanol and biodiesel development could become a “bubble that will burst” if the country withdraws its support of developing those technologies. As for nuclear power, said Meyers, “I think it’s very dangerous.

Roger Anderson, Emmet County supervisor, asked what could be done about the fact that 75 percent of Iowa’s counties are losing population.

Meyers said employers offering health care would be one step. Another would be to ensure there are no further cuts in student college financial aid.

Emmet County Democratic Chair John Nelson offered his position on veterans health care, saying, “My feeling here is that we ought to ditch the VA and let everybody go to real hospitals.”

Meyers said satellite VA hospitals are needed. However, he said veterans should be allowed to go to regular doctors.