Monday, September 5, 2016

Johnson and Stein Invited to Commander-in-Chief Forum By IAVA


For over a decade and through multiple elections, IAVA has focused on finding every way possible to ensure veterans remain at the forefront of the American dialogue. As the 2016 election season continues to dominate headlines, IAVA will continue to be aggressive in advocating for our community to be a part of that dialogue. That's what our historic Commander-in-Chief Forum event on NBC next week is all about. 

As a non-partisan organization committed to advocating for the voices of all Post-9/11 veterans, IAVA applauds the efforts of some of Governor Gary Johnson's and Dr. Jill Stein's supporters to include their perspective in the conversation. We agree. The conversation focused on veterans should not end on September 7th  and with the major party candidates. IAVA is 100% committed to expanding the public conversation about the issues facing veterans with any viable candidate for President as often as possible.

As it stands today, Governor Johnson is qualified to appear on a ballot in all 50 states and exceeds 10% in a recent poll of active duty troops, Reservists and National Guard members conducted by the Military Times.  Though Mr. Johnson still does not meet the historical standard for general election meetings between candidates set by the Presidential Debate Commission, IAVA took the extra step to develop our own, more inclusive threshold for a series of Commander-in-Chief Forums.  We appreciate the patience of our members as we carefully underwent this important process. We have reached out to Governor Johnson's campaign to invite him to participate in an IAVA Commander-in-Chief Forum event and I had an extremely friendly and productive phone call with him yesterday. You can see a recap from The Military Times here.  

We have also reached out to Dr. Stein to invite her to engage in a dialogue with IAVA Members.

IAVA also believes we have a responsibility to inform our members that, as of today, neither Gov. Johnson nor Dr. Stein has even posted a veterans policy section on their website.  For anyone vying to be Commander-in-Chief, that would be an important early step. IAVA's comprehensive Policy Agenda, informed by our members nationwide, gives them an excellent place to go for guidance.

IAVA is always focused on empowering our generation of veterans and sharing our triumphs and challenges with all Americans. If national leaders want to talk seriously about veterans issues with our members, we're excited to help make that happen. But as a non-profit organization, IAVA can not do this alone.  We need all the help we can get to ensure our voices are front and center for all Americans during this important election season. Even more so, we need everyone to help after the election is over. IAVA is in this for the long haul. Our vital programs change and save lives daily. And just as our members will lead America for decades to come, we'll need support that continues long after the current media attention has faded.

We also look forward to uniting all Americans just days after Election Day for Veterans Day 2016. It will be the perfect time for people of all political backgrounds to come together around our veterans and chart a course ahead that benefits all of us for generations to come.

Our groundbreaking Commander-in-Chief Forum on NBC is just 5 days aways. Go to www.CommanderInChiefForum.org for all the latest news, FAQs and for ways to get involved online and on the ground. And keep checking your inbox. We'll have more exciting announcements in the days to come--and a way for you to submit your questions to the candidates.

Stay tuned!

Paul Rieckhoff 
Founder and CEO
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)