Michigan Senate candidate John James has a record of denying aid to military veterans.
Republican Michigan Senate candidate John James has hit the campaign trail touting himself as a friend to his fellow military veterans — but his record on the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Board undercuts his claims.
James began his tenure on the board in April 2012, was named chair in March 2014, and remained in that role until his resignation in March 2017.
But James, who has built an entire campaign around depicting his opponent, incumbent Democratic Sen. Gary Peters, as an absentee who never shows up to work, had a spotty meeting attendance record at best.
According to meeting minutes, James missed on average 22% of the monthly meetings throughout his time serving on the board. In 2013, he missed five of the 12 meetings, or 42%. And in 2015, he missed three of the 12, or 25%.
But more distressingly, during James' time on the board, rates of rejection of requests for assistance from veterans soared. The requests were typically for such things as housing assistance, medical bills, a new roof, or a chairlift.
Before James became chair, his own rate of rejection of requests was 64%, higher than that of the board as a whole, which hovered at 59%.
After James took on the chair position, however, the board's rejection rate skyrocketed to 73%.
Despite his shaky record, James has continued to brag about his work on the Veterans Trust Fund board during his campaign.
After the alleged attempted kidnapping of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, he expressed his disgust for the plot at a rally on Oct. 10 and promised to unify Michiganders if elected.
"With all the vitriol and toxicity and the political process right now, I thought it was very important to give back," James said. "Being able to feed the hungry, help heal the sick, help clothe the naked, and take care of our veterans is very, very important, and I'm looking forward to continuing that when I get to Washington."
And according to video footage obtained by the American Independent Foundation, in a talk at the Southwestern Wayne County Regional Chamber Virtual Legislative Forum on Sept. 28, James touted the "millions of dollars in grants" given during his time in service on the board.
He didn't mention either his erratic attendance rate or his disproportionately high rate of rejecting the claims of veterans.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.