Veterans fight Carroll smear campaign

A group of veterans have expressed their disgust with the campaign tactics of Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll and his surrogates against candidate Sean Collins. The group sprung up as a result of negative radio ads, and internet claims made by Ken Rineer, Emil Franzi, and Bruce Ash.

The smear effort by Carroll, a 15 year incumbent, has been in full force since Collins dared to enter the race. Carroll is unaccustomed to being opposed. While a Republican, Carroll is a favorite of the Democrats, practically winning the endorsement of the county Democratic Party chair when he stated, ‘we need more Republicans like Ray Carroll.”

Ash crossed the line for some in a Facebook comment he made about Collins, who had just released a statement against Carroll’s smear tactics, saying Collins’s record of military achievements “sounds like the certification of achievements passed out in our grade schools to me.” Collins served in the Air Force participated in the war efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia.

After returning home, Collins, a small business owner and father of three, saved a woman’s life. He pulled the pregnant woman from a burning vehicle, and injured his back during the rescue.

“As a resident of the northeast part of Tucson and a long time constituent of Ray Carroll’s, I would like to say that I reject any of Ray Carroll’s comments about the military service of Sean Collins. Sean served in an outstanding manner while on active duty and further distinguished himself in a life-saving, and for himself a life-endangering situation.  Individuals are alive today who would be dead had it not been for the courage and expertise of Sean Collins. Anyone who would try to promote a political campaign by demeaning Sean Collins’ military service is beneath contempt,” said Major Vern J. Pall, USAF, Retired, Chairman, Tucson Veterans Affairs Committee.

“I find it truly reprehensible that an elected official would stoop to attacking the honorable service of a military veteran in a vain attempt to win a political campaign. The fact that Mr. Carroll and his supporters have stooped to maligning Sean and in the process diminishing the service of all veterans demonstrates the huge moral chasm that separates a lifelong politician like him from thousands of Pima County voters,” said Michael A. Taylor, USAF, Retired.

The veterans sent the following letter to Ash and Carroll:

“It is unfortunate that in an effort to smear Sean Collins, his opponent’s operatives have attacked all service men and women by characterizing a hard earned military record as something that “sounds like the certification of achievements passed out in our grade schools to me.” Mr. Bruce Ash, on behalf of 15 year incumbent Supervisor Ray Carroll, posted those very words in response to an advisory by Sean Collins that he will not conduct a smear campaign like Carroll’s.

It is our understanding that Mr. Carroll never served in the armed forces. It is our understanding that he has never experienced being away from home and hearth, at times in harm’s way, in the service of his country. It is our understanding that many in Mr. Carroll’s army surrogates never served in any branch of the military as well. It is our understanding that your disdain for the service extends to saying you would never even want your own children to ever serve in the military, thus become veterans.

Sean Collins is a veteran and a hero. He served his country in the Air Force participated in the war efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia. Sean Collins is the two time recipient of the John Levitow award. The John Levitow Award is the highest honor presented to a graduate of Air Force Enlisted Professional Military Education (PME), including Airman Leadership School, NCO Academy, and the Senior NCO Academy.

After serving his country, Mr. Collins became a hero of a different sort when he pulled a pregnant woman out of a burning vehicle he happened upon. During the course of that rescue, Collins broke his back. For his act of heroism he was awarded the American Red Cross Military Hero of the Year in 2000.

We strongly repudiate Mr. Ash and his assault of Mr. Collins and of all men and women in service. Ash claims that military men and women do not run on their record of service. Not only is that untrue, we wish more men and women of the military would run for office and bring the commitment, dedication, and hard earned experience to all levels of government.”

Joseph Grossi, US Navy – Retired
Major Vern Pall, USAF – Retired, Chairman Tucson Veterans Affairs Committee
John Cruz, USAF Veteran
Mike Hannon – Navy Veteran
Dan Kinsey – Air Force Veteran
Chaz Lomax – Navy Veteran
Christopher Young – Army Veteran
Chuck Cummings – Air Force Veteran
Damon Overson – Air Force Veteran
Bernie Hedge – Army Veteran
David Caveny – Army veteran
Ed Messmer – Marine Veteran
Ken Haldorsen – US Coast Guard Veteran
Jacob Hatcher – Army Veteran
Mike Taylor – Air Force Veteran
Dave Parker – Army Veteran
Mike Maleski – Air Force Veteran
Mike Larson – Air Force Veteran
Alberto Moore – Army Veteran
Bob Sexton – Army Veteran
Michael Ebert – Navy Veteran
Bob Junke – Navy Veteran
Michael I. Kleving – Veteran
Michael L. Kleving – Veteran
Jerry Allen Jones Sr. – Navy Veteran

Ash’s latest attack came in response to a statement issued by the Collins campaign, in which Collins said, “It is disheartening to learn that my opponent and his supporters have gone on the airwaves to discredit my service to our Country, and to create false stories in an attempt to distract from my opponent’s failed record. I served in the United States Air Force and participated in the war efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia. Military service involves sacrifice and I am grateful to all of our Servicemen and Servicewomen who have honorably served and continue to serve our Country.

After his 15 years in office, I now understand why my opponent does not want to discuss Pima County’s lack of jobs, unsafe roads, wasteful spending and the reason we hold the highest property tax rate in Arizona. Unfortunately for Pima County, my opponent has chosen to once again neglect these issues. The Collins campaign has discussed and will continue to discuss these important issues as well as my proposed solutions to them, as we fight to bring new leadership for Pima County Supervisor, District 4.”

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