Barack Obama Talks to Houston Veterans

Senator Barack Obama is making several campaign stops in Texas. His first was in Houston to speak with a group of veterans. The senator spent more than an hour answering questions and chatting with supporters. Houston Public Radio’s Laurie Johnson reports.


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It was an intimate setting inside the American Legion Post 490. About 50 people sat just a few feet from where Senator Barack Obama stood behind a podium.

“America enters into a sacred trust with every single person who puts on the uniform. That trust is simple. America will be there for you, just as you have been there for America. Keeping that trust must always be a core American value and a cornerstone of American patriotism because our committment to our service men and woman begins at enlistment and must never end.”

The Senator spent about 15 minutes talking about his plans to revamp the nation’s Veteran’s Affairs program. He says it’s time to bring the VA into the 21st Century. One of his ideas is to create an electronic medical records system.

Obama then sat on a stool and took questions from the audience. Most of the people in the room were veterans or military family members.

John Witterschein retired from the Coast Guard after 22 years of service. He was there with his wife, in-laws and two young daughters. He asked the senator how he plans to improve support for military families. Obama says one of his top priorities is to work on quality of life issues for the military.

“Part of it is making sure that financial situations, childcare, basic needs for a single parent essentially are in place. And I think that our military has not adapted enough, quickly enough, to providing those kinds of needs especially when people are on three or four or five rotations.”

Afterward, John Witterschein and his family took photos with Senator Obama. Witterschein says he’s always wanted the opportunity to ask a tough question of, as he put it, a bigwig politician.

“I thought he hit a grand slam on every one. He seemed prepared, he didn’t — he was prepared but wasn’t staged. It wasn’t canned answers. I think it was honest from the heart answers and that’s what I like.”

Laurie Johnson. Houston Public Radio News.

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Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez

News Director

Laurie Johnson-Ramirez leads news coverage for Houston Public Media across broadcast and digital platforms. Ramirez is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Before becoming News Director, Ramirez held the position of Executive Producer for Daily News, leading daily and breaking news coverage, helping...

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