Our newest member of Congress begins his service today.
Congressman-elect Don Bacon, as former commander of Offutt Air Force Base, says he wants to emphasize military readiness.
“When you read that our readiness levels are the lowest they’ve been since post-Vietnam, it’s a scary thing,” Bacon tells Nebraska Radio Network. “We have lots of units in the United States that cannot deploy to the war zones, wherever it may be based on whatever situations erupt; that undermines deterrence and it makes peace more precarious.”
Military experience, at one time, was common among members of Congress; nearly a given. Now, it is rare. Fewer than 20% of the members of Congress are veterans. Bacon says it makes a difference when politicians fully understand the cost of war as he has when delivering the news of a death in combat to parents or a spouse.
Bacon retired from the military, decided to stay in the Omaha area, and defeated Democratic Congressman Brad Ashford in November. He will be sworn in today on Capitol Hill.
He says he wants to emphasize not just military readiness, but also the cost of regulations on small business owners. Bacon says several small business owners complained to him about the cost of the Affordable Care Act, claiming its requirements kept them from adding employees and, at times, forced them to keep employees at part-time status to avoid the additional cost of providing health insurance.
Bacon has been impressed by fellow Republican Donald Trump’s transition to the presidency, but maintains his independence.
“In the end, my loyalties (are to) the people of this district and the Constitution and to do what’s right and it’s not to be a blank check for anyone.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]