Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Can Joe Fierro Even Run for SBOE?

As a veteran it annoys me when I see people campaign in uniform because I know its a big no-no. And it makes me feel like it cheapens military service to associate it with politics in that way. I've never liked them people use it as a way for them to score points off their military service.

I hate that.

This isn't the first time I've written about it. When Julio Diaz used to campaign in uniform it used to bother me then too. But Julio was National Guard or Reserve and would post pictures of himself on drill weekends etc.

Joe Fierro on the other hand indicates that he is an active duty solider.

"I currently am a soldier in the United States Army. I'm a Combat Medic stationed here at Fort Bliss and I'm going to retired this year because I had to make a choice between remaining a soldier and devoting my time to the State Board of Education", stated Joe Fierro at a recent forum at the Eastside Civic Association.

Based on some comments he made on an article in the Texas Tribune, and honestly based on his contributions from a GOP - backed PAC called Texans for Education Reform, I decided to check Fierro's voting record.

I'll get to what his voting record says in a minute, but I stumbled across something interesting.

He's 57 years old and an E-8. My Army buddy that I've known since we were both privates in Basic Training is 42 and is a Sergeant Major. Those of you who are veterans know where I am going with this.

Fierro is facing a mandatory retirement. He likely didn't have to choose between "remaining a soldier and devoting" his time to the State Board of Education.

I'll post the video of his remarks later today. If he wants to clarify why he's getting out that is up to him.

But I saw a post of him in uniform on his campaign page that was taken at an event that was clearly political, even if it was held by an Airborne veteran's association.

This is a screen shot of his campaign page. He is very clearly wearing his OCP's (Operational Camouflage Pattern) in one of the photos. I knew that was a campaign no-no so I went to search the Army Regulation on the policy.

Well it turns out that Mr. Fierro may have more of a problem than just what he is wearing while an active duty soldier and candidate.

The fact that he is a candidate at all may be a big problem.

According to policies outlined by the Department of Defense, it doesn't appear that Mr. Fierro can even be a candidate in the first place. Click here for the full regulation.

In the Tribune article I mentioned earlier Mr Fierro indicates that he has the financial support of 17 generals.

I wonder if those generals are familiar with this particular portion of the regulation:

The portions that are underlined in blue appear to have been violated by Mr. Fierro. He is running for the Democratic nomination to the State Board of Education. He is participating in the Democratic Primary and if he wins will face a Green Party opponent in November. He has also raised money, apparently part of which came from those 17 generals. That would be a partisan political fundraising activity.

He has solicited votes for that partisan race. He has spoken before a partisan political gathering as a Democratic candidate for State Board of Education at a candidate forum last week, actually a little less than a week.

He's shown up to AFSCME's endorsement interviews in uniform according to witnesses.

The questions is a) is he in fact violating DOD policy and b) if so, how does that impact the election? Is he ineligible? Would he be able to serve if elected? What, if any ramifications would his candidacy have for his military career?

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.

When I checked out his voting history I learned that he doesn't vote very often (which is not uncommon for active duty personnel by the way) and has voted in two Presidential primaries. Once as a Democrat and once as a Republican. Interestingly he voted as a Republican in the 2008 primary election. The Republican nominee later faced the Democratic nominee in the general election that was eventually won by President Obama.

Here's a screenshot:

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