Dan Choi stumps for Jay Chen

Our troops and military veterans risk their lives whenever our nation needs them.   Many fought long and hard for the right to serve with dignity and equality in the military.  These same soldiers were subject to the discrimination of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), and I celebrate the repeal of a policy that forced service members to lie in an institution that emphasizes honor and integrity.  But some in Congress continue to support the discrimination DADT imposes on our brave servicemen and servicewomen.

I am writing to let you know that in this election, Jay Chen is running for the 39th District seat to protect the health, safety, and dignity of our troops—both when they are in combat and when they return home.  If he wins, he will unseat Ed Royce, who repeatedly proved his intolerance during his 20 years in Congress.  In 2010, Royce voted “nay” to repeal DADT.  Last year, he led a hateful protest against community members who weren’t of his faith.  Recently, Royce’s supporters accused Chen, a U.S. Navy Reserve intelligence officer, of being un-American.

Notably, Royce avoided service himself by staying in college for seven years, but he supported sending troops to Afghanistan and Iraq.  He voted for war, but against funding for educational benefits and suicide prevention treatment for veterans.  He also sought to protect his own paycheck, but was willing to sacrifice military pay in a government shutdown.  In other words, Royce sent our nation’s brave youth into combat, but actively blocked measures to help them.

The question is, why would we consider electing an official who puts his own interests before his country and his constituents? He’s good at gaining votes through lies and pandering, and he’s a master at getting contributions from banks and corporations.  But where does Royce rank where it matters? Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) gave him a “D” rating.

Chen serves in the military and understands its complexities and difficulties in need of solutions.  He knows that when we send our troops to fight, we are all in this together.  Royce won’t engage in a debate with Chen, because he knows he’s intellectually outmatched.  Instead, he hides behind false attack ads paid for by Wall Street.  If he won’t even stand behind his own record, how can we expect him to fight for anyone else?  It’s time that the 39th District chooses someone with the integrity and courage to do what is right.  With just five days left, you can make a difference by donating some time to his campaign if you are nearby, or contributing some needed funds if you are afar.