On February 18th and 19th, veterans from across America joined in Charleston, SC for the first ever Veterans Patriot Action Conference aimed at combatting the trend of declining rates of veterans participating in the political process. The historic event, held just before the South Carolina primary also attracted Presidential candidates Dr. Ben Carson and Donald Trump who came to listen to the concerns of veterans as well as learn how better to communicate with the veteran community.
In the 2012 presidential cycle, 6 million veterans didn’t vote – a troubling statistic. VPAC’s aim is to provide veterans with the tools necessary to grow their political voice and work to get 4 million veterans and their spouses registered to vote.
One of the biggest hits of the conference was Dr. Ben Carson. He gave a well received 45 minute speech and met with a group of veterans to discuss approaches to building a “VA for the 21st Century.” Here is a photo of Dr. Carson at VPAC, sporting the Special Operations Speaks (the group organizing the event) lapel pin, and another with some of the VPAC organizers:
However, the most buzzed about featured guest was real estate mogul and current Republican front runner, Donald J Trump.
According to attendees, Trump spoke with a panel of veterans for a half an hour about a range of important issues. His normal campaign bluster was replaces by serious and thoughtful dialogue leaving many in the room very impressed. Two of the veterans, Russ Vansant and Dave Miller, shared their grassroots campaigning insight with Trump, which he graciously accepted and voiced his approval on their expertise.
Here’s a couple of photos of The Donald:
Presidential candidates weren’t the only special guests at the conference. One of the most buzzed about speakers was Admiral ‘Ace’ Lyons, who gave a speech that was described as “No holds barred.” This kind of tough talk is what more vets are looking for.
The Conference was put on by Special Operations Speaks, and they are looking to hold another VPAC conference in the lead up to the general election. The group’s mission is:
We, as veterans and supporters of the Special Operations communities are committed to identifying and combatting the internal and external threats to the sovereignty of the United States of America.
— Educating Americans about, and promote remedies and programs to counter, the on-going dismantling of America’s Diplomatic, Informational, Military and Economic (D.I.M.E.) powers, without which our Republic cannot flourish or be sustained.
— Educate Americans about Islamic jihad and Sharia, existential threat to D.I.M.E., America’s elements of national power.
— Uncover the truth with regard to the Benghazi massacre, to include failed security preparations, intentional abandonment of our citizens in distress and the blatant cover-up surrounding this national tragedy.
— Protect the rights, benefits and privileges earned by active duty personnel and veterans for their honorable service to and sacrifice for our nation.
— Support qualified congressional candidates or serving members who support and defend our Constitution.
— Restore credibility, integrity and honor to the office of the Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America.
What do you think the best way is to get more veterans involved in politics? Sound off in the comments below!