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Jenkins Scolded for Attending Rove Fundraiser Instead of Vets’ Committee

PHOTO: Veterans, Democrats and union members such as Tim Millne protested against state Sen. Evan Jenkins skipping his third veterans affairs committee meeting in a row to attend a high-dollar fundraiser with Karl Rove at a Huntington country club. Photo by Dan Heyman.
PHOTO: Veterans, Democrats and union members such as Tim Millne protested against state Sen. Evan Jenkins skipping his third veterans affairs committee meeting in a row to attend a high-dollar fundraiser with Karl Rove at a Huntington country club. Photo by Dan Heyman.
September 11, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – State Sen. Evan Jenkins is being harshly criticized for skipping a veterans' affairs committee meeting to attend a high-dollar fundraiser at a Huntington country club.

Vets and union members protested outside the West Virginia state capitol Tuesday as the legislative interim veterans' affairs committee was in session.

Tim Millne came up from Jenkins' district to point out that the congressional candidate was then at a $5,000-a-ticket fundraiser with Republican operative Karl Rove.

Millne says that was the third vets' committee meeting in a row Jenkins had missed.

"Right now, he's AWOL on veterans' issues up here,” Millne stresses. “He's not attending the meetings.

“He's hobnobbing with Karl Rove down at the Guyan Country Club. If he's doing that on the state level, what's he going to do on a national level?"

The Jenkins campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Jenkins has publicly said he favors continued funding for vets.

West Virginia has one of the highest proportions of military veterans in the country.

According to U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall's campaign, Jenkins missed a meeting that included a tour of a VA hospital in Bridgeport. And Rahall’s campaign says Jenkins also skipped a separate vets' committee meeting to appear on Fox TV and attend a fundraiser at the New York Palace Hotel.

According to state AFL-CIO president Kenny Perdue, all that fundraising is going to pay for a mudslide of negative TV ads that big out-of-state Republican groups are running against Rahall.

"They brought the money in from out of state, maybe out of the country,” he maintains. “They run TV ads against Congressman Rahall two to one, and here we stand, he won't even stand here to fight for the veterans."

Perdue says there are vital veterans' issues Jenkins should be attending to.

A recent survey found as much as half of West Virginia's vets suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression, and the problems with the VA medical system have made national headlines.

Perdue says Jenkins has been a hypocrite on those issues.

"He challenged and chastised Congressman Rahall about not supporting veterans and he doesn't even show up for it,” Perdue says. “He'd rather be with his big buddies Karl Rove and the rest of them down there raising money at a country club."


Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV