Allen talks to veterans about benefits, energy

Published 9:36 pm Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A veteran introduces Senate candidate George Allen, center, at a forum at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9382 in Pughsville on Wednesday. Allen talked about veterans’ benefits and energy policy at the event.

Speaking to a roomful of veterans in Suffolk on Wednesday, Senate candidate George Allen discussed veterans’ health care and other benefits, as well as energy policy.

The event, which attracted about 20 visitors, was held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9382 on Pughsville Road. The guests asked Allen about topics including their rising health care costs and his thoughts on various sources of energy.

Allen called making veterans pay for their health costs a breach of contract made with veterans, saying they were “promised health benefits for life.”

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“They’re making you pay for those benefits,” he said. “They’re absolutely wrong. I think America needs to keep our promises.”

Allen said the country’s ability to keep a volunteer force hinges on how veterans are treated.

“The main thing is we get someone in the U.S. Senate that’s concerned about bringing down the cost,” said Paul Gillis, who attended the meeting. He is a former employee of Allen’s.

Because of rising gas prices, Allen also addressed his energy policy. He said the veterans fought for national security, which is being threatened by getting oil from other countries.

“We could be energy independent in our country,” Allen said. “It doesn’t have to be this way. We have more energy resources than any other country in the world.”

Asked about his view on nuclear energy, Allen responded that nuclear energy needs to be part of the mix.

“There’s no single silver bullet,” Allen said. “We need silver buckshot.”