Military members weigh in on election issues

Servicemen, women at job fair point to more jobs, better health care

Published On: Nov 01 2012 06:11:58 AM EDT   Updated On: Nov 01 2012 05:59:25 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

More jobs, better medical care and a closer attention to mental health -- those are some of the things local military men and women say they're concerned about in this presidential election.

Those at a military job fair at EverBank Field on Thursday didn't say who they intended to vote for, but they did say the person they want must make life for the military and veterans better.

"Some of us have worked for 20, 30 years, and when we get out, although it's gotten better over the years, it's not where it should be," U.S. Army veteran Toni Wilson said.

"Focus on jobs, conversion from military to civilian, we need more help in that realm," added Orlando Casariego, who's serving in the Navy.

Service members said overwhelmingly they had the same hopes for bettering their country and the way it treats those who devote their lives to it.

Bob Brewster and the American Legion help troops get back into society once they're out of the military. He said it's not an easy task, and the government needs to do more to help them.

"They're looking for jobs, they're looking for help with their transition into the civilian workforce and life, they're looking for service officers who can help them with their problems," Brewster said.

Many veterans say the worst scars they bring back from battle are often invisible ones, but they're the most painful. The next president, they say, must do more to heal the wounds.

"Health care and mental health care for veterans," Marine Corps veteran Justin Carroll said. "Most of them come out with (post-traumatic stress disorder) and aren't the same when they get out, and everyone needs help."

"You can never do enough," Brewster said. "These guys signed a blank check to give their lives for this country, and it seems like we're cutting back their benefits, we just keep taking away from the veterans."

Military members who said they need more rights, health care and jobs are encouraging others in the military to go to the polls and vote so their voices can be heard.