STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX -- Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, is a key asset to Arizona’s military and public safety issues, officials said Wednesday.
Military officials lauded his efforts as a champion of veterans and a longtime neighborhood activist who has worked for years on public safety with Tucson Police and Fire and asked that he be reinstated to the House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee.
“Rep. Daniel Patterson time and time again has supported our veterans as a member of the committee,” said retired Army General John Adams of Tucson. “He’s one of the best representatives we’ve got up there supporting our military service men and women.”
Retired U.S. Air Force Major Mark Beres said Patterson is genuinely concerned about issues involving active duty military and veterans and that he enjoyed working with Patterson on HB2348, a bill that prohibits the federal disability benefits of veterans from being awarded to anyone else aside from child and spousal support enforcement pursuant to federal law.
“Dan Patterson has well-represented the veterans and active-duty military personnel in the 29th District,” Beres said. “As Dan's constituent and a veteran, I have been impressed with his attention to and knowledge of issues impacting veterans in his district, as well as his genuine desire to study and champion solutions.”
Patterson’s District 29 is in the heart of Tucson, and it contains Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, and the Southern Arizona VA Medical Center. Arizona has the nation's 13th largest veteran population, and apart from the Phoenix area, Tucson has a sizable share of these citizens.
“It is critical that these veterans have representation on the MAPS committee,” Beres said. “I am concerned that if Rep. Patterson is removed, a large percentage of our state's veterans and active-duty military personnel and their families will be without representation on the committee. All politics aside, as a veteran, I believe Tucson's vets are well-served by such representation, and I respectfully urge the House to reconsider his removal.”
Patterson, who sat on the committee for nearly two full legislative sessions and the only member on the committee from Tucson, and Sen. Russell Pearce engaged in a heated debate last week with during a hearing of a bill in the committee. In an action that lacked transparency, House Speaker Kirk Adams removed Patterson from the committee Tuesday on an empty House floor when no members were present.
“Every member at the legislature knows that the times we live in and legislate in are trying,” said House Democratic Leader David Lujan. “From the budget to immigration to health care issues, there is a lot of passion for the very significant legislation that is being debated at all levels of government. It is our duty as lawmakers to scrutinize those bills and ask the tough questions. We should not be censored for doing so.”
Lujan said he believes Speaker Adams’ action was over-reaching and that Patterson, as a valuable member to military affairs and public safety, should be reinstated to the committee.
- from House Dems PIO