The campaign of Jonathan Jenkins brought itself to my attention this weekend; any candidate I have followed closely will tell you that my attention is a mixed blessing. However, it's not that often that a Republican candidate will jump in front of my digital window and yell "yoo hoo, over here!" Of course there's always the chance that they were confusing me with someone else. In any case, I took at look at their campaign website and have these comments based on the information there, without doing any further research.
Mr. Jenkins is running for the 26th state house district, which "consists of Chester County’s only city, Coatesville, as well as the municipalities of East Coventry, East Nantmeal, East Vincent, Elverson, Honey Brook Borough, Honey Brook Township, North Coventry, Spring City, Valley, Wallace, Warwick, West Caln, and West Nantmeal."
I had no idea that a town called West Nantmeal existed in Pennsylvania, but it somehow seems fitting that it should be close to Honey Brook.
Currently the 26th district is represented by Tim Hennessey, a Republican. Yes, that is correct, Mr. Jenkins is challenging an incumbent from his own party. Depending on your perspective that's either very gutsy or very dumb.
Mr. Jenkins is a veteran. He served as an air traffic controller in the Marine Corps. and went into the Reserves after leaving active duty. He was recalled after Sept. 11th 2001 and eventually promoted to Gunnery Sergeant. For those not familiar with the Marines, "gunnies" are generally people you don't want to mess with. Jenkins was sent to Iraq in 2008 and is now, again, back in Pennsylvania in the Reserves. He has been active in Republican politics in a variety of roles.
Looking at some of his policy statements, here are a few thoughts.
Under "Right to Work" we read:
Coming from a union family, I obviously respect and recognize a place in industry for them. With my father being a lifetime member of a union, my sisters and I certainly benefited from all they offered.
But he doesn't like "forced unionism," requiring those in union shops to pay a portion of union dues whether they belong to the union or not. Here I will confess a prejudice -- I'm currently an officer in my local union. People who work at a union shop benefit from the contracts. If everyone earns the union salary and gets the union benefits I think they should pay part of the dues. And Mr. Jenkins is correct, he benefited from growing up in a union family. Trying to close off that opportunity to young families now bothers me.
Mr. Jenkins has several statements on health care. This is one of them:
Healthcare mandates have their place and can be beneficial to some groups of people but the majority are not measured and managed. It is unfair for the forgotten taxpayer to pay for mandates that show no value or no data to allow us to know the success or failure of programs. We need to remove the emotion from healthcare legislation and replace it with tangible measurable and sunset dates.
However, he has this to say about veterans benefits:
Military members disabled in the course of duty deserve benefits to appropriately meet their needs.
Disabled Veterans Real Estate Tax Exemption Program
I will advocate for the lowering of the required disability percentage from 100% to 75%. This is a more appropriate way to treat our wounded warriors.
Special Housing Adaptation
The Veterans Administration has a terrific program to help offset cost for adapting the house of a military member to meet any special needs deriving from a service related disability.
Since there is an eligibility criteria based on type and severity of a disability I will advocate from the study on the number of military members denied access to this program and appropriate specifics to determine if follow-on legislation must be sponsored to support our defenders of freedom.
Free Fishing Licenses for Disabled Veterans
It is my opinion that we should encourage disabled veterans to enjoy Pennsylvanias parks and waterways. One way to accomplish this is to lower the disability percentage from the 100% requirement in existence currently to 25%
I see some conflict here but the voters in the 26th might not. Certainly, as someone who is from a military family and who benefited from the medical coverage provided to military dependents (at least for the years I was a military dependent), I support veterans benefits. But I'm not sure you can support this and downplay health care mandates generally. And the fishing license thing seems a little strange but maybe it's an issue in the 26th.
Mr. Jenkins' website has a number of policy statements on it. The site is well-designed and informative. I thank Mr. Jenkins for his service to our country and for his willingness to run for office. Not knowing him, let's take the high road and assume he will run an honest and efficient campaign -- that takes a lot of energy and diligence.
Let the best Republican win.