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Veterans issues drive Cook


Adam Cook says support for veterans issues is what drew him to run for Congress in the first place.

And over the past few days, the Democrat has focused largely on those issues while traveling  across the 1st District, from Newport News to Prince William County.

Cook campaigned at Stafford County’s Globe & Laurel Restaurant on Wednesday, making his case before quite a few veterans and their families.

“I believe this district, every district but in particular this district, needs a member of Congress who understands that the costs of war don’t end when the last bullet is fired. We’ve paid the cost of war over generations,” Cook told about 30 people.

Cook faces Republican incumbent Rob Wittman of Montross, who is seeking his third full term, and independent Gail Parker.

An attorney and Air Force reservist from Fredericksburg, Cook has said he will work across the aisle for the district, which includes the third-highest number of veterans in the country. Jackie Hontz of Stafford said she believes Cook will get things done.

“He knows what sacrifices people who serve and their families make,” said Hontz, whose husband served in the Navy, causing the family to move 14 times.

“If there’s someone on the other side with any resolve to work together, Cook will find him,” Hontz said.

Cook criticized Wittman’s voting record on veterans issues, including decreasing funding for the Veterans Administration and voting against the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provides education benefits for returning veterans. He said taking care of service members shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Retired Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, the first female three-star general in the U.S. Army, traveled from South Carolina to help Cook’s campaign this week.

“He’s a great listener. I’ve watched him absorb people’s stories and then respond to them,” Kennedy told the group.

Other issues that Cook addressed included the looming budget cuts known as sequestration. He said there need to be well-thought-out cuts to defense programs, rather than what was done as part of a last-minute deal in which lawmakers seemed to choose an arbitrary number.

 The three candidates will debate at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the University of Mary Washington’s Dodd Auditorium in Fredericksburg. They met in their first debate earlier this month.

Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975