Sue Morrow: Cleland praises Reid’s commitment to veterans |

Sue Morrow: Cleland praises Reid’s commitment to veterans

Sue Morrow

Former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia says he is a “big, big, big Harry Reid fan.”

Cleland’s fondness for Reid, facing a contentious battle in his quest for a fifth term, essentially stems from the Senate majority leader’s dedication to military veterans.

That’s not hard to understand. While serving in the U.S. Army, Cleland left two legs and an arm in Vietnam.

In a recent interview while campaigning for Reid in Nevada, Cleland praised Reid for his successes, including passage of the stimulus package that netted $5 million for improvements to the VA hospital in Reno and almost $600 million for a new vets hospital in Southern Nevada. He also credits Reid with ensuring passage of the new GI bill for education for vets.

“You can never restore the lost years, the lost limbs, sometimes lost souls, of the people who served in the American military,” he said. “You can never restore that, but if they survive war and come home, it is our moral obligation to try to help them get to places where they can heal,” through the Veterans Administration and educational opportunities.

“You have to look at his (Reid’s) whole record, and he is the best for veterans the state of Nevada ever had. He has the best record of anybody in the history of Nevada when it comes to not only supporting veterans but leading the charge,” said Cleland.

“Now as majority leader of the Senate, he is in a powerful position to argue for the 300,000 veterans in the state of Nevada for whatever they need,” he added.

He said that since Reid became majority leader, the Veterans Administration budget has increased 45 percent.

Cleland assailed what he termed “the craziness on the other side” in today’s political scene. He also referred to GOP U.S. Senate candidate Sue Lowden’s unsuccessful “insane proposal” while a state senator that would tax some veterans’ burial benefits and her solo no vote on a bill to fund veterans’ cemeteries with specialty license plates.

Even minus three limbs, it’s easy to see that Max Cleland still is a fighter. Big time.

• Sue Morrow is a longtime journalist and member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame. She may be reached at soozy