Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: What I Learned At "The Gathering" and Candidate Begich's Stance on the 21st Century GI Bill

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What I Learned At "The Gathering" and Candidate Begich's Stance on the 21st Century GI Bill

- We were very, very lucky. The weather warmed up in Anchorage so the snow turned to rain and melted on the streets, plus the weather in Wasilla turned out to be great.

- Politicians will come in ANY weather! We couldn't believe the turn-out! Even folks like Charlie Huggins, who said he wasn't coming, showed up anyway!

- If you post on your blog how certain candidates actually have a horrible record on Veterans, their aides change their mind about coming. (OK, it was probably the weather that changed the folks from Stevens office minds, but until there is proof, I like my story better.)

- Musician friends are the best! Lulu, Patti and Sandy just kicked some serious butt! My new friend Paul Pike was absolutely wonderful...I was so honored to finally meet him!
- I've been an avid supporter of Mark Begich for years but appreciate him even more now.

His actions on behalf of Veterans to make The Military Family Support Initiative available in cities all over the country (his wife, Deborah, won an award for starting it here in Anchorage) and his latest stand against Sen. Stevens refusal to support the 21st Century GI Bill show he's the real deal.

Progressive Alaska has more extensive coverage specific to Mark Begich's press conference regarding the GI Bill.


Did I mention that Sen. Stevens is lousy with Veteran's Issues?

- Diane Benson spent a lot of quality time with individual Veterans who had concerns they wanted to talk about. She was also patient with us when we botched things. Thank you Diane!

- I actually got a chance to talk to Senator Murkowski about the GI Bill and asked her to put pressure on Sen Stevens to support it. She stated that John McCain had come out with a GI Bill and it sounded like they were trying to get her to support. However, she told them she wanted a side-by-side

comparison to see how the bills stacked up. It doesn't sound like they knew if or when that was going to happen.

From what I understand about Sen. McCain's bill, I doubt that ever happens at all.

I told her that Sen. Stevens was on the wrong side of this issue and he can't afford to be on the wrong side of ANY issues right now.

Did I mention that Sen. Stevens is lousy with Veteran's Issues?

- It's official, I am even more impressed by Gov. Sarah Palin. She showed up towards the end in sweats (and looked perky and cute...in sweats...sheesh, what is it about those cheerleaders?) with NO entourage. She actually rushed from taking the baby to the hospital for some tests, then taking him to her parents' so they could watch him, then running to our event so she could at least catch the tail-end.

Mo Bailey literally almost cried.

I have to say, as much as I STRONGLY disagree with some of her socially conservative stances, I agree with her on more issues than any other Republican. I can also see that she genuinely cares about Alaska and Alaskans...it's not faked. That's why she's so popular.

I'd like to be able to say that we talked about substantive and important issues of the day but we actually talked about preemie kids (my daughter was 32 1/2 weeks)...which was substantive and important to us.

She laughed with the Aqua Nets and joked with (and about) Lulu. (Sheesh - is that a test of being a real Alaskan, whether or not you know Lulu?) I thank them for sending me the picture.

I swear...I'm not a groupie...I have perspective...

Thanks to everyone who came and made the day so wonderful!


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