Over 350 Michigan Veterans Highlight John James Veterans Coalition

James to Stabenow: Stop picking D.C. politicians over Michigan veterans

John James hosts veterans meet & greet in Livonia.

Livonia – The John James for Senate campaign announced John’s guiding principles and veterans coalition Thursday, made up of over 350 veterans including Congressman Jack Bergman, Rob O’Neill, Kris Paronto and Amanda Van Essen Wirth.

“My fellow veterans fought to protect the American Dream, and we must ALL protect that Dream for our vets and their children,” James said. “Michigan deserves a proven leader on the Senate floor who will finally prioritize our veterans and ensure we receive the care that we’ve earned. Stabenow was recently caught on tape admitting that she ‘had not been focused on’ issues facing our veterans and ‘not aware’ and that’s not acceptable.”

“The Vietnam War officially ended the year Sen. Stabenow first took office! She has had ample opportunity to do the right thing for America’s veterans and has failed,” John James said. “Stabenow voted against military pay raises, aid for disabled veterans and emergency funding for our troops. Her lack of action or even awareness on the issues facing my brothers and sisters in arms is unacceptable. It is time for me to lead.” [WATCH: Standing up for our Veterans]

“For our Iraq and Afghanistan vets we should no longer treat separation from the military like an Expiration, Term of Service (ETS), we need to treat it like a permanent change of station (PCS); preparing all future veterans for civilian life similarly as we train them for their next tour of duty,” James said. “Our Vietnam veterans, who were not welcomed back home properly are currently afflicted with the highest suicide rate among all war-time veterans. This must end! We must increase collaboration between the DoD, VA and the private sector so that a veteran’s re-integration back into civilian society, mentally, physically and emotionally is not the toughest battle that we face.”

James’ guiding principles are based off of his three “T’s” for taking care of our vets: transition, technology, and talent.

Vietnam veteran John A. James pins John E. James during the pinning ceremony for his promotion from Lieutenant to Captain.



It’s time to increase access and choice of health care for our veterans to include both VA and at non-VA facilities.

The transition back into civilian life shouldn’t be the toughest battle that our veterans face.

We must ensure that ALL veterans are taken care of, including Vietnam veterans still suffering from exposure to Agent Orange.

Veterans who may have been erroneously discharged from the military because of mental traumas like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) deserve to receive fair treatment and should not lose access to the benefits they have earned through their service.



Our veterans deserve the most up-to-date, best information available to get the the health care and additional services that they’ve earned.

We need to expand telehealth services for our veterans.

The VA must be held accountable for their actions and we must work to find a comprehensive solution to deal with the VA backlog.


We can re-integrate military professionals across the private sector, including doctors and nurses transitioning out of active duty military service.

We should attract and retain the best medical professionals and administrators and hold the few bad actors at the VA accountable.

There needs to be a focus on veterans’ job training programs.

It’s time to extend tax credits for small businesses that provide differential pay to military reservists and National Guard members called to serve.

John James with Dr. Joseph E. Thomas Jr.

Stabenow admitted that she has not been focused on issues involving veterans transitioning home and housing provisions under the GI Bill. [WATCH: Stabenow Admits She Was “Not Aware” of Veterans Issues]

After graduating from West Point in 2004, James became a Ranger-qualified aviation officer. He went on to serve with distinction in Operation Iraqi Freedom, logging over 750 combat flight hours while leading two platoons. After eight years of service to the nation, James returned to Michigan to work in the family business: James Group International. Currently its President, he has led the company from $35 million to $137 million in revenue while creating 100 additional jobs.

Veterans for John James


“Joining the military was hard enough at 17, deploying to Iraq at 18 was something unexplainable. My platoon leader Captain John James led us on a long 15 month tour in Baghdad in which he brought every one of us home.”
– Steve Tersigni, U.S. Army, SGT, 6 Years (from 2006-2012), Deployed with John James OIF (2007-2009)

“John James represents the epitome of what we should all strive to be as citizens of this great nation. Whether it was defending freedom over Baghdad or creating jobs in Michigan, John has demonstrated a passion for service and commitment to excellence that makes him the best choice for Senate.”
– Rob O’Neill, Former Navy SEAL and a member of the elite military team responsible for the killing of Osama Bin Laden

“Unlike some people, John isn’t running for a title or a job. He’s already had the greatest job too few of us have had: that of American Soldier. John has lived duty, honor, country and that’s why I support him as my next U.S. Senator.”
– Amanda Van Essen Wirth, Judge Advocate in the Michigan Army National Guard

“John has within him the philosophy of a combat veteran attack helicopter pilot. He will report the movements of the political class in DC from a vantage point we don’t have here; he will clear the legislative and regulatory route ahead of us so that our state continues to grow and prosper without interference and meddling from DC.”
– Stephen Tegge, retired Army Major who served in the Marines from 1988-1992 and the US Army Infantry and Acquisition Corps from 2000-2016 including combat deployments to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Iraq

Veterans for John James Leadership Team·

Steve Tersigni, U.S. Army, SGT, 6 Years (from 2006-2012), Deployed with John James OIF (2007-2009). (Oakland County)

Robert J. O’Neill, Former Navy SEAL and a member of the elite military team responsible for the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Kris “Tanto” Paronto, former Army Ranger from 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment & was part of the CIA annex security team that responded to the terrorist attack on the US Special Mission in Benghazi, Libya, Sept. 11th, 2012, helping to save over 20 lives while fighting off terrorists from the CIA Annex for over 13 hours.

Keith King, enlisted in the U.S Army in 1969 and after completing the Military Police Advance training he was sent directly to Vietnam. He served with the 18th Brigade (218th and 630th MP companies) and was a specialist E-4 when he got out. His awards include The Vietnam Campaign ribbon with device (M-60 machine gun), Vietnam Service Medal (with 2 bronze campaign stars), Good Conduct Medal and National Defense Medal. (Wayne County)

Dr. Joseph E. Thomas, Served as the first MI Ambassador to the U.S. Army Reserve where he held the rank, honor and privileges of a Major (two-star) General. (Muskegon County)

Steve Kenyon, Army Lt. Colonel, 30 year service-disabled Veteran of the USAR with multiple mobilizations. Duty across the US, Europe, Japan and Honduras. Military Ambassador for Michigan. (Kent County)

Mark Northrup, Mayor of Hudsonville, U.S. Coast Guard, 1980-1994 (14 years), Commissioned Officer. (Ottawa County)

Stephen Tegge, retired Army Major who served in the Marines from 1988-1992 and the US Army Infantry and Acquisition Corps from 2000-2016 including combat deployments to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Iraq. (Oakland County)

Larry Lloyd, entering his 16th year of service to the nation with the US Army. Recently, Sergeant First Class Lloyd returned from a deployment to Bulgaria and Hungary where he lead a Civil Affairs Team that worked to bolster the resiliency of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he served with 187th Infantry Regiment and the 101st Airborne Division as an infantry squad leader on over 250 combat missions. (Jackson County)

Dale GoodCourage, Retired U.S. Army Sgt., Past Commander – Berkley American Legion Post 374, currently on Rifle Team Life member of DAV Chapter 19, 100% Disability. (Oakland County)

Lee Fuller, 15 years of aviation experience and 22 years with the United States military. Demonstrated commitment to aviation and safety excellence achieved through logistical, environmental, and high-pressure challenges both domestically and during three deployments to Kosovo, Iraq, and Kuwait. Consistent success in development and application of Standard Operating Procedures, National Guard Regulations, Army Regulations, Federal Aviation Regulations and OSHA regulations for an organization of over 500 soldiers and $820 million of equipment. Served as Lead Accident Investigator on four incidents. (Ingham County)

Mike Sand, Vietnam Veteran, VFW Post 6691 Life Member, Macomb County Bicentennial Committee, Member Veterans Memorial Park of Detroit, Inc., Vice President Metro Detroit Veterans Coalition, Life Member
VVA Detroit Chapter 9, Life Member, Past President DAV Chapter 19, Life Member POW/MIA Chair of Honor Committee, Member Michigan Vietnam Monument Commission-Vice President, Retired UAW Skilled Tradesman & MEA Teachers Union Member. (Macomb County)

Gerry Hildenbrand, U.S.Navy (Active Duty) and Michigan Air National Guard. Ret. (Allegan County)

Jeff Schutter, U.S. Naval Reserves, Commander, 16 years of service (Kalamazoo County)

Brian Methner, Marine Corps Corporal 1998-2001, Founder Kalamazoo Mortgage Hero Salute – Benefits Veteran Related Charities. (Kalamazoo County)

David Martin, USAF, MSgt, 20 years (honorably retired) Davison American Legion Post #267, Past Commander, current Post Service Officer. Mott Community College Veteran Resource Specialist Current Command Sergeant Major, 6th Battalion, State of Michigan Volunteer Defense Force, Camp Grayling. (Genesee County)

Dave Dutch, a combat Veteran that served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He deployed around the globe including Guam, Phillipines, Persian Gulf, Bermuda and Iceland. (Grand Traverse County)

Jack Bergman, retired United States Marine Corps Lieutenant General and the U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 1st Congressional District. Bergman served as commanding General of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North. (Gogebic County)

Jason Wentworth, State Representative – HD 97, Chair of the MI House Military & Veterans Affairs Committee. Wentworth joined the United States Army after graduating high school in 2001. He spent five years as a military police officer and completed a tour in South Korea. (Clare County)

Amanda Van Essen Wirth, Captain in the Michigan Army National Guard. (Ottawa County)

Joseph Graves, State Representative – 51st HD. ST U.S. Army 1971 – 1974 Artillery & JAG. (Genesee County)

Gary Glenn, served eight years in the U.S. Army Reserves and Army National Guard, including Midland’s 1460th Transportation Company, and earned two U.S. Army Reserve Component Achievement Medals. He is a member of Midland’s American Legion Post 165 and chairman of the state affiliate of Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors. (Midland County)

Tom Barrett, State Representative – 71st HD. Has served over 15 years in the US Army, currently a Chief Warrant Officer 2. Barrett serves in the Michigan Army National Guard as a helicopter pilot trained on several different aircraft. He has served overseas in South Korea, Guantanamo Bay, Kuwait, and Iraq. Barrett is a veteran of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom and has been awarded multiple Army Commendation Medals, Army Achievement Medals and other decorations. (Eaton County)

Veterans who want to join the coalition can sign up at: https://johnjamesforsenate.com/coalitions-veterans/

WATCH: Stabenow “Unfocused” and “Unaware” of issues facing our veterans