The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

August 1, 2006

Veterans' group sets sights on Murtha

The group Veterans for the Truth is targeting U.S. Rep. John Murtha, a critic of the Iraq war and a de facto spokesman on the subject for the national Democratic Party.

They group is bringing its campaign to “Redeploy John Murtha From Congress” to his back yard.

They plan to hold a national rally in Johnstown in October “to show their outrage at John Murtha over what he is saying about our troops,” state chairman and former Johnstowner Mark Parker said in a release.

Details of the rally will be outlined at a news conference at 11 a.m. Thursday in front of Murtha’s office at 647 Main St.

Murtha, who will not be in his district office Thursday, appears unfazed by the pending campaign.

He is scheduled that day to be in Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County, campaigning for Democrat Chris Carney, who’s running against incumbent Republican Don Sherwood in the 10th District.

In a statement released by his office, Murtha said, “Nobody has done more for the troops than I have.

“This is a policy difference, and everybody has the right to an opinion.”

Murtha is running for re-election against Diana Irey, a Washington County commissioner, who has been critical of Murtha’s comments about the war and what she sees as his lack of support for the troops.

The news conference will be held by Craig Minnick, an Iraq war veteran and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, and Harry Beam, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and Vietnam vet, both of Johnstown, and Parker, an Air Force veteran.

A guest at the news conference will be Larry Bailey, president of Veterans for the Truth. Bailey is a retired Navy captain and former commanding officer of the Naval Special Warfare Center.

Murtha, a retired Marine Reserve colonel, in 1974 became the first Vietnam veteran elected to Congress. He’s been known for his strong support of the military and on defense issues, working quietly behind the scenes with Republicans and Democrats alike.

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