Chuck Wooten is one of several congressional candidates vying for the Arizona CD2 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives this year (2014). He’s also far and away the most impressive candidate, though I didn’t know that until he spoke at the Palominas Tea Party meeting this evening. In fact, I’d never heard of the man until his name came up in the email reminding me that tonight was our monthly potluck meeting.
Or…wait a sec. Something tickled the back of my brain, something familiar about that name…could he be related to Uncle Dick Wootton of Old West fame? Back in the early 1870’s, Uncle Dick was running a toll road through Raton Pass on the border between New Mexico and Colorado. He’d come west, seen the need, improved 27 miles of road through the pass, and started charging tolls, twenty-five cents to use “his” road. (Well, he had done all the work.) He never charged the Indians a penny, though, recognizing their right to use the pass they’d used for centuries before he came along.
That was a thought. Early on at the Tea Party meeting, I asked him about that. He’d not heard of Uncle Dick Wootton, not to mention the fact that Uncle Dick’s last name actually had two t’s and three o’s in it: Wootton. So that wasn’t it–ah! Got it!
A couple of months ago, a friend forwarded one of those ubiquitous viral emails that make the rounds. This one was supposedly by a retired Chief Master Sergeant (USAF) who’d taken Congressman Paul Ryan to the woodshed in an open letter slamming Ryan’s complicity in sponsoring legislation that would cut the pay for military retirees. The writer’s name had been Wooten.
Now, I’m more than a tad cautious about emails like that. As our regular readers know, I work hard to research my material, making sure it’s real before putting my name to it–partly because I’d be embarrassed and ashamed to do otherwise, but mostly to protect readers who’ve learned they can trust information I’ve published. Things were hectic here at the Border Fort (as usual, only more so) and I chose not to make the effort necessary to research the validity of the Wooten email at that time. Instead I, uh, deleted it.
Still, imagine my considerable satisfaction when I suddenly realized that not only was the email real…but the writer was in fact the very same Chuck Wooten who is running for Congress in our very own Arizona CD2.
Not only that, but it gets better. Many a candidate looks good when stepping to the podium but goes downhill from there. With Chuck Wooten, it’s the opposite. He looks like “just any old guy” until he starts talking. Once he begins speaking, however, the lights come on. Whether delivering a speech or interacting with his audience, he looks and sounds better with every word out of his mouth.
You don’t find many like that.
He writes well, too. Here’s an example, the text of his open letter (posted on Facebook and long gone viral from there). He wouldn’t even have written it…except that while he was still steamed over the shafting our warriors were getting from the federal government, a fund raising solicitation bit of junk mail showed up–from none other than Congressman Paul Ryan himself. The result is epic:
Please note that this request by you for a cash donation from me is extremely unfortunate and very ill-timed. You see sir, I am one of the military retirees your “bipartisan” budget just impacted. You and every Republican (both in the House and Senate) that voted to pass this travesty betrayed and broke trust with me and everyone like me. You may not know us by name, but we’re the people, Congressman, who answered our Nation’s call, some of us at a very early age to willingly serve YOU and others LIKE YOU so you could safely attend college and pursue your personal ambitions without fear of harm.
You might also want to note that for at least 20 years, my brothers-in-arms answered that call of duty EVERY SINGLE DAY, without fail, without complaint, without enough money to sustain our loved ones we had to leave behind while we DID OUR JOB in every corner of the Earth. And for that service, we were given absolute assurance our so-called retirement benefits would be protected by law. The very law you shattered in your zeal to impress your Democratic cohorts in your back room deal–with the enemy. Yes, I said it. The liberal Democrats are an enemy to the American people and our Nation. Your lack of judgement and eagerness to compromise on the backs of us who protected you is sickening. Congressman, you and every Republican that voted for injuring military retirees have engaged in a complicit, sordid affair with the Democrats who’s objective has always been to dismantle the military. By climbing into their bed on this issue, you have confirmed you are absolutely no better than they and have proven it with your vote.
Congressman Ryan, the audacity which you display is noteworthy, but to unceremoniously snatch earned money from a small group that has added so much more value than the paltry $6B you looked to “save” (which is all smoke and mirrors and you know it), is reprehensible and insulting.
We have, despite the hardships, meager salaries and harsh conditions, have performed with honor and excellence…in silence, which is something most members of Congress have no idea about doing. Our job approval was, is and always will be better than yours. We knew our mission and we got it done, then handed it off to a new generation in better shape than we found it.
Your ability to look us in the eye, take money from us (apparently there was ZERO, other source of waste within the federal government that you could have recovered this money from…right, got it), while simultaneously holding your hand out to beg (with passion) for our cash is stunning. Your actions have proven you do not have the tremendous intellect you’ve sold the American people on. I say, with all seriousness, Congressman, what you lack in intellect and spinal rigidity, you make up for in cajones.
I hope you and your cowardly, Republican “colleagues” hear a message from me loud and clear. You will NEVER receive another cent of financial support from me. Further, if you happen to be at a Capitol Hill dinner or at a K Street cocktail party with RNC Chair Reince Priebus, Rep. Ron Barber, Sen. Jeff Flake or Sen. John McCain, I would be honored if you communicate with them that I am launching an effort to ensure NONE of you traitorous “representatives of the people” ever receive another vote from a military retiree. Remove me from your contact lists.
Chief Master Sergeant, USAF (Ret)
The outrage over the pay caps for military retirees was nationwide and very, very loud. Many of the individuals who got involved were able to use Chuck Wooten’s massively viral letter as a springboard for calling and emailing their Congress-critters and the White House, demanding repeal of the legislation D.C. (including President Obama, who signed it into law) had cluelessly embraced. Two months after the letter was written, the repeal was a done deal.
As should always be true of any man who’s achieved the top enlisted rank available in the military, Wooten gets things done. He’s conservative on the key issues of our times–Obamacare, border security, national defense, the national debt, and more–yet he’s able to call ’em as he sees ’em without sounding strident. That’s a rare talent, one we’d be unwise to waste in this pivotal election year.
In fact, his leadership skills became evident even before he spoke his first word from the podium. Our Tea Party coordinator asked him to start off by providing answers to three key questions. That is, here he comes, ready with his prepared comments, and he’s asked to switch up his game completely. A lot of public speakers, including some pretty good ones, would be utterly thrown by that. Chuck wasn’t. He simply smiled, courteously complied, and started batting home runs right out of the park without missing a beat.
Should We the People be fortunate enough to see him debate the other candidates in either the primary election or the general election, we’re in for a treat. Chuck Wooten will quietly blow any other candidate right out of the box, not excluding either the sitting Congressman or the GOP nominee from 2012.
Yes, Wooten has a website…hey, that alliterates! Wooten has a website! Here’s the link:
Naturally, there’s no way on this little old page to list all the details of all the information Chuck provided at the Tea Party meeting. He’s had sixteen years of private sector experience at the corporate executive level since leaving military service, for example. Traveled the world in his work. Worked with top levels of government. And so on and so forth. Your eyes would glaze over (and I’d be typing till tomorrow afternoon). So, hey, check out his website and/or drop me a line in the comments section. If you have a question about Chuck’s qualifications, I’ll either know the answer or I’ll find it for you.
One of our key Tea Party people summed it up nicely when he rose to his feet at the end of the meeting and said, “I’ve been (politically) active for about six years now in this area, seen a lot of candidates speak, including three candidates for Governor just recently. It gets to the point that you pick up on things pretty quickly, whether they’re just repeating talking points or whether they really believe what they’re saying. And I can say that in those six years, you (Chuck Wooten) come across the best of all of them in that you know what you’re talking about and you believe it.”
“Thank you,” Chuck replied from the podium.
Then I had to add my two cents worth. “I’ve only been active here for four years–not as active as (name), but active–and I agree.”
“Thank you,” Chuck responded to me…but it should be us, the voters of Arizona CD2, who are thanking him. He didn’t want to run; he was simply overwhelmed by people insisting that he must run. We should be thanking him, not only for his nearly 21 years wearing the green, but for his willingness to step forward once again, to offer his service to a nation that needs it more desperately than ever.
Candidate Appraisal: FIVE STARS for Chuck Wooten, GOP candidate for Congress (2014).