Ohio Congressman says he voted against Economic Stimulus because not enough Defense Pork for his district.


Freshman Ohio Congressman says he voted against Obama Stimulus Package because there was not enough for Defense Pork for his district? How does your Congressional Rep compare?


pork_852949 Joining other Republican and Democrat War Hawks who voted against the Obama economic stimulus package, freshman Congressman Steve Austria of Ohio went to the local Beavercreek News Current, a Republican leaning, (NO Republican) propaganda rag to explain why he did not vote for the Democrat stimulus package. All the partisan loyalty aside, he said first of all the vote was primarily along party lines with the exception of a few Democrats sharing his concern about defense pork projects located in their Congressional Districts or states. Austria inherited the long time seat of defense and military procurement expert Congressman Dave Hobson, a seat that depends on Air Force specific and related defense industries and Ohio congressional districting manipulation for existence. Hobson who retired last year did have a good bi-partisan relationship with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi escorting her on a visit to the Middle East bucking party leadership or at worse spying on Pelosi.

Robert L. Hanafin
Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired
7th Ohio Congressional District
A Republican Stronghold for the rest of the 21st Century?

Maybe NOT?



Ohio Congressman says he voted against Economic Stimulus because not enough Defense Pork for his district. How does your states representative regardless of party view defense pork projects and economic stimulus?

9483_400 I believe that this is a very significant change in direction for political debate, the media and politicians have successfully managed to take the Global War on Terror off the radar as a taboo subject as they debate THE ECONOMY. Ironically, here is a freshman Republican Congressman doing what I eventually thought the Dems would do show a direct relationship between THE ECONOMY, DEFENSE BUDGET, and THE GWOT.

If I were a partisan political party member who’s party lost the Congress and White House to issues surrounding the economy , defense, and the Wars on Terror the last thing I would want to do is connect the dots, especially how they relate to not only jobs but OVERALL COSTS OF THE WARS in economic terms. DAH! I would want to continue downplaying the direct relationship between the economic meltdown and War on Terror to keep the American people, especially voters IGNORANT about how to connect the dots.

60489_600_50 Excerpt: In an opinion piece to constituents in Ohio’s 7th Congressional District which includes several military bases employing maybe less than a third of the voters, freshman Congressman Steve Austria has this to say about why he 41kbexmpj5l._sl500_aa280_voted against the Democrats Stimulus package, and he calls it a partisan package with no Republican input or participation beyond of course Republican leadership meeting with President Obama plus Obama’s outreach to Republicans that was doomed to failure. Put another way, the shoe is on the other foot now Mr. Obama bipartisanship is a pipe dream.

1002191086_34fa2ff039_o “This week the Speaker of the House and Democrat Congressional leadership offered a plan they solely crafted, and which the U.S. House of Representatives voted on and passed, with a partisan vote. Every Republican and several Democrats voted no…I voted no on this bill because the massive borrowing and spending contained in the plan did not offer immediate relief for families and small businesses. Simply put, the bill needed better focus on short term results and long term sustainment of jobs. It would have been a better piece of legislation if both parties had been able to participate in the process.” (Beavercreek News Current, February 5, 2009, pg. 4).

Well frankly Major Hanafin, a long time Republican turned Independent Thinker, did not vote for Congressman Austria, and I’ve learned not to depend on any Republican or Democrat congressional representative to respect the interest of our ARMY military family. You see the problem is that we are an Army Military Family living in an area dominated by Air Force military retirees, an Air Force base NO three within the same district. Thus, a political apathy exists within Austria’s district that if it’s not part of the Air Force then it’s not part of the War on Terror that need concern our local community. This is ironic, if not humerous; given the Air Force has the fewest boots on the ground in combat of all the services.

However, Republicans in our area did manage to recruit two Army National Guard members to pose for our local Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Memorial long before these wars ever ended. The real intent was to show that Republicans care more about our troops than everyone else. Ok, before that turns off most of my fellow Air Force retirees and Airmen, let me say upfront that Major Hanafin views the military world with a purple uniform (or purple suit as we use to call career military members with Joint Service Unit assignments that were once prized). I share that experience by virtue of having served from enlisted to NCO in the Army during Vietnam, and officer in the Air Force going into the Gulf War.

This is the apathetic part of Mr. Austria’s attitude that I as an Army family member, having served in both the Army and Air Force, plus had a child deployed in the War on Terror had a horrible time stomaching. It is when Congressman Austria says that the most important reason he voted against this bill is that it did not have enough Pentagon pork in it for his district. Side note to be covered later, Steve Austria won his predominantly Republican district by the slimmest margin since the War on Terror began in earnest in 2002/3.

imagespork “Most importantly what was not included in the bill was funding for defense, which is proven to be a stimulus to our local economy with Wright Patterson Air Force Base, the Defense Supply Center (in Dayton outside his district BTW) Springfield National Guard Base (that was almost closed during the last round of base closings) and Rickenbacker Air Force Reserve Base in Franklyn County,” which was the only county in which Austria lost big time in November 3008.

Of course Austria has other concerns with the Democrat stimulus package but the most important had to deal with Defense. This shows just how much of a Freshman Congress critter he really is. Such arguments about defense budgets, Pentagon Pork for local Congressional districts, and so on need to be energy and time you save for debate in Congress over the Defense Budget, and there will be a future debate Mr. Austria. To even mention local district defense pork that benefits but a few of the constituents in your district while you are suppose to be debating the economy is above incompetence. How long now have both Democrats and Republicans gone out of their way to make these separate and unequal arguments, and now when the chips are down some Republican who won his election by a very slim margin desires to mention the economy and defense in the same breath. I frankly like that kind of stupidity.

In all fairness to Congressman Austria, at least he did not mention the local economy and War on Terror in the same breath, because then he might have to explain, especially to those of us who voted against him exactly how significant a role Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with no combat aircraft worth mentioning, Springfield Air National Guard Base that by definition has combat aircraft that are not deployed in combat, and Rickenbacker Air Force Reserve Base another trash hauler combat support aircraft base play a central role in the War on Terror? I believe the closest organization he mentions that plays a significant role in the GWOT is the Defense Supply Center in Dayton, Ohio outside our district.

Once again before I turn off all readers who happen to be Air Force veterans (like me) or Navy Vets for that matter though the Marines play a major role in the GWOT, it is exactly the fact that Austria can’t even mention Army or Marines in any of his concerns about local Pentagon pork for his congressional district that has wide open sores in it. Let me 6a00d83455f7ff69e200e54f38751c8833640wi_400make it perfectly clear that I’m not saying the Air Force as evident by the photos at left does no play any role in the War on Terror, that’s as ludicrous as voting against an economic stimulus package that doesn’t provide 1592812710_1ed4c9f7bf_400Pentagon pork for my congressional district. Air Force units to include Air National Guard and Reserve aircraft bring back the fallen and wounded that’s as immediate as any units can get. Air Force security forces have played such a significant role augmenting Army Military Police battalions (like Sky Cops augmenting the 43rd Army Military Police Brigade in Iraq) that their stateside role of guarding Air Force bases including Wright-Patt and even nuclear weapons stock piles have been taken over by Rent-A-Cops ala Blackwater but of course less mercs and more class. These are roles also played by the Navy Shore Patrol type units not to mention the significant role of Seabees.

I most likely would not agree with Austria him anyway or I would have voted for him, he really doesn’t represent me and I did not vote for him because he was a Republican, I might not have voted for him even if he were a transparent Democrat no different in hawkishness. Keep in mind that the most hawkish, warrior like politicians in Washington or up and coming NEVER wore a neither uniform nor seen combat up front nor close. It would have been much easier for our Army military family to swallow had he been a combat veteran and able to say that the most important reason he voted against AN ECONOMIC stimulus package was fear of losing jobs or base closings at Wright-Patterson Joint Forces Base (a base that included both Army and Marine combat units), the Springfield Army National Guard Base (instead of Air National Guard), and Rickenbacker Air Force-Army Reserve Base. Frankly, it would be too much to hope for any Marine units in significant numbers be welcomed to land locked Ohio.

A final point is where was Steve Austria when Secretary of Defense Robert Gates canned both the Secretary of the Air Force, and Air Force Chief of Staff for really not pulling their weigh in the GWOT (lack of oversight on NUKES was only a straw that broke the camel’s back). Gates not only warned both these Air Force leaders to cooperate more with ground forces, but he also warned them against lobbying for the bulk of the defense budget when they only perform a combat support role at this time. A significant though not major role, because the lion’s share of any future defense budgets is going to the Army and Marines by immediate necessity not which military service lobbyist can get the best deal for in Congress. Austria’s predecessor Dave Hobson ran during 2004 and 2006 using a scare tactic of elect a Democrat and our military bases plus the economic bloodline they provide will go away. Frankly, politicians have clout but in the final analysis very little influence over mission essential requirements and decisions at Pentagon level. Hobson came darn near close to losing Springfield Air National Guard base by pulling a bait and switch of getting the Norwegian or Swedish Air Force to sign a contract to use Springfield ANG base as a joint U.S. –NATO training area. Why do NATO units have to train over American cities? Anyway, my point is that a Republican got elected not a Democrat and we almost lost the base anyway. Hobson also promised defense industry jobs tied to the ground forces making up armored Hummers, and body armor near Springfield, Ohio that even Democratic politicians bought into. Those ground force related jobs that would have been of immediate benefit to the Army and Marines never transpired nor was there any intent to really stimulate the defense economy then as there really is now. IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID, if I want it to be that way or not. I frankly pray Republicans do begin talking about the economy and War on Terror in the same breath. Go for it, BRING IT ON!

If readers can’t relate to why my Army family is concerned about such exclusive statements by a Congressional Representative who is suppose to represent all his constituents, even those with loved ones in the Army, then you’ve never worn a Green and Blue suit. I strongly believe that Congressman Austria is going to have to save his energy and arguments for when the real Defense Budget or Supplement (if there ever is another one) comes up for debate, then push local Pentagon pork for the Defense Industry that almost ensures him victory come next Congressional election.

Robert L. Hanafin
Major, U.S. Air Force-Retired (77-94)
SP5, U.S. Army (69-77)

Below are Ohio election results for our 7th Congressional District, the trend shows that what was once a Republican bastion has become progressively (pun intended) vulnerable for an opposition party slim win at best. From strong victory margins at the beginning of the GWOT, the percentage of vote to ensure a mandate has dwindled from an all time high back in 2002 of around 32.5% for Dems and Independents vs. 67.5% for Republicans or what I would consider a landslide. That margin of victory slightly decreased to 35.04% (Dems and others) to 64.96% in 2004, but still what I would consider a Republican landslide. However, the election of 2006 began to show a chick in Republican armor at 39.38% to 60.62% the lowest victory margin since the beginning of the Iraq War.

What the national Democrat party, Ohio Democratic Party, and even Independent thinkers need to look at is just how vulnerable the Republicans are and target such districts depending on how successful or unsuccessful the Obama presidency is. Congressman Steve Austria won by a slim margin of 58.22% to 41.78% for Dems and Independents. This was not only the lowest margin of victory in the state of Ohio but also the weakest victory since the War on Terror began. Frankly, the last thing I would want to be talking about going into the next election is DEFENSE when the nation and state of Ohio have separated THE ECONOMY from DEFENSE. I frankly believe there are those within the Military-Industrial Complex (Defense Industry) who would sacrifice Ohio bases that do not obviously play a major role in the GWOT.

In closing, since Mr. Austria who was edumacated in politics at state and local level, and is a career politician who never wore a military uniform, he and his wife (who once was on Congressman Dave Hobson’s staff, so this is beyond a doubt a political family) both need to stop playing the our bases are going to close FEAR card, stop exploiting the GWOT when it is more a vulnerability than strength to do so, or at least lobby for and attract significant ground forces to military bases in Ohio. Mind you there are friends of mine in the Pro-Peace movement who would just like to see this all become irrelevant as we focus on chopping into the overall bloated Defense Budget so that we can afford to have $600 million going toward new federal cars (where Mr. Austria got those figures with having tax payer watchdog groups join him in protest, I just don’t know), $50 million toward the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) meaning education while Austria complains about this his family is irate about any local education levy that doesn’t pass in our district. This is not a smooth though process at all, Austria either support education above defense or he doesn’t we can’t afford both. He also complains about $200 million for grants and volunteer programs, yes volunteer programs like AmeriCorps while mentioning nothing that has been spent from our federal tax dollars on AmericaSupportsBush.mil the Pentagon program to sell the GWOT to the American public.

I’ve posted links to the data showing that the tax dollars wasted on propaganda far outweighs anything we the people could put into education or encouraging our young people to volunteer.

This guy Austria is so far right that he makes both Hobson and Bush look like moderates. Links to Ohio election results for the 7th Congressional District from 2002 to 2009 show vulnerabilities that Independents and Democrat must challenge. Feedback I’ve gotten from opposition party political strategists at state and national level is that a strong candidate with fund raising capability and appeal has not risen in our congressional district, so money, people, and focus is not on even trying to win those strong Republican districts. Well, if they do not see the vulnerabilities, that seat will always remain Republican even if the vast majority of voters happen to be Independents. On way to crack that vulnerability is another round of base closings targeting those Air Force and Navy bases that cannot prove an immediate benefit to the GWOT beyond combat support missions. I have no problem with combat support, but even those mission should be prioritized by need versus nice to have. It is way past time to do smart Defense Budgetting even if my friends believe there should be no defense budget (a pipe dream that will never happen in their lifetimes mark my words).

Total 174,915 125,547 (58.22%41.78%) 16.44% 49,368 votes more. Not only was that the lowest percentage win in Ohio but Democratic and independent party candidates stand a better chance of closing a distance of 16.44% than let’s say 20% head start.

39.38% 60.62% (2006), 35.04%64.96% (2004),

54380 to 113,252 = 167632 (32.5% to 67.5%) (2002)


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Readers are more than welcome to use the articles I've posted on Veterans Today, I've had to take a break from VT as Veterans Issues and Peace Activism Editor and staff writer due to personal medical reasons in our military family that take away too much time needed to properly express future stories or respond to readers in a timely manner. My association with VT since its founding in 2004 has been a very rewarding experience for me. Retired from both the Air Force and Civil Service. Went in the regular Army at 17 during Vietnam (1968), stayed in the Army Reserve to complete my eight year commitment in 1976. Served in Air Defense Artillery, and a Mechanized Infantry Division (4MID) at Fort Carson, Co. Used the GI Bill to go to college, worked full time at the VA, and non-scholarship Air Force 2-Year ROTC program for prior service military. Commissioned in the Air Force in 1977. Served as a Military Intelligence Officer from 1977 to 1994. Upon retirement I entered retail drugstore management training with Safeway Drugs Stores in California. Retail Sales Management was not my cup of tea, so I applied my former U.S. Civil Service status with the VA to get my foot in the door at the Justice Department, and later Department of the Navy retiring with disability from the Civil Service in 2000. I've been with Veterans Today since the site originated. I'm now on the Editorial Board. I was also on the Editorial Board of Our Troops News Ladder another progressive leaning Veterans and Military Family news clearing house. I remain married for over 45 years. I am both a Vietnam Era and Gulf War Veteran. I served on Okinawa and Fort Carson, Colorado during Vietnam and in the Office of the Air Force Inspector General at Norton AFB, CA during Desert Storm. I retired from the Air Force in 1994 having worked on the Air Staff and Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon.