Larry Bustetter | Military Savvy in Congress

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Today, savvy demands practical knowledge and understanding — the ability to make good judgements when world military threats call for such a skillset. 

Of course, a military combat background presence in Congress is critical in today’s political climate. With a leadership history as a former Navy lieutenant commander, Rep. Mike Garcia brings such credentials to Congress as our District 27 representative. 

His opponent for Congress, Christy Smith, lacks such skills and experience. 

The presence of former military veterans has declined to less than 25% of members of the House. A veteran/non-veteran balanced military awareness and support of our nation’s Department of Defense is vital. Mike Garcia’s leadership is evident in the following two examples: 

Congressman Garcia’s support for veterans, active duty military members and their families. Highlights of Garcia’s efforts on behalf of fellow military families and service members include two bipartisan bills as part of HR 7939 — introduced by Mike with support of Rep. Levin, D-California, “Student Veterans Emergency Relief Act of 2022.” Rep. Garcia’s Acts within HR7939 (“Emergency Relief for Servicemembers Act” and “Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act”) will significantly enhance our military strength with improved recruitment and retention of military service members. 

Congressman Garcia’s address before the House of Representatives: On May 12, 2022, Mike addressed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House membership with a very well-written and -delivered expression of his concerns for America. His leadership savvy to directly confront the supporters of the Biden Administration was powerful and convicting. 

Statements by our representative included: “Some things are simply inexplicable and inexcusable” (e.g., the Afghanistan debacle and our southern border insecurity). 

“The reality is that these were intentionally induced crises by our elected officials in the White House and in this body.” 

“With peer-threats like Russia and China, many are looking at the so-called leaders in D.C. as the source of the problem. And with good reason.” 

“On the world stage, our nation is now no longer the sole and preeminent superpower.”  

In a striking contrast to Rep. Garcia’s support for our military in Congress, Christy Smith, during the 2020 election campaign, mocked Mike’s military experience. 

I and many of my fellow veterans were very angered by her comments. Many of us, following the Vietnam War, experienced similar deriding slander. Although she may have apologized, her heart was revealed toward military service veterans. 

Instead of the above history of Mike’s opponent, on Nov. 8, we have the opportunity to vote for Congressman Mike Garcia. We have the opportunity to elect a savvy American for our district with a history of military leadership who                                  puts America FIRST and supports our military and its veterans in Congress. 

Larry Bustetter


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