All News & Blogs
Congressional candidate to have role in Charlotte
Date published: 9/5/2012
The 1st District Democrat won't be giving a speech. But he will be joining other military veterans for a convention salute to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
Cook, of Fredericksburg, spent six years as an active-duty JAG officer in the Air Force before transferring to the reserves in 2009 and taking a job with the Social Security Administration's general counsel office.
As a major in the Air Force Reserve, he suspended his campaign--he's challenging Rep. Rob Wittman--for two weeks last month while he was away on reserve duty.
Cook did a tour in Afghanistan last year, serving as the chief legal adviser to detainee review boards at a detention facility in Parwan.
In a telephone interview Tuesday, Cook said he's not sure exactly what to expect at the convention. The salute to veterans, he said, is supposed to
"It's an exciting opportunity and I'm glad to be there with my fellow Iraq and Afghanistan veterans" to talk about issues, Cook said.
While in Charlotte, Cook also will be a panelist on a veterans and military affairs council meeting.
There, he hopes to raise awareness of veterans' issues, especially the health care needs of "this generation of veterans," those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
They're coming back, he said, with "major issues" with post-traumatic stress syndrome and brain injuries.
They're also facing rising suicide rates. Cook said the Army had its highest suicide rate ever last month.
Cook said he's concerned about the government's ability to continue covering veterans' needs, particularly maintaining funding for veterans' health care.
"We have an absolute moral obligation" to cover veterans' health care, Cook said.
Cook had originally planned to go to Charlotte for the panel--scheduled for Wednesday--and then return for a joint forum with Wittman before the National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees at Falls Run in Stafford County, scheduled for Thursday night.
Then Wittman cancelled his appearance at that forum, Cook said.
Chelyen Davis: 804/343-2245