[Update 20 January 2022, 7pm: Senator Sefzik reached out to me in an email early today and as a result I spent 20 minutes on a Zoom call with him during which he extended his apology for his comment regarding the military in his letter to the Whatcom County Council. I believe he understands the rationale for my having called him out and I told him I accepted the apology. He was definitive in his realization that civilian service as he experienced it is not comparable to military service. We continued our friendly conversation after that and agreed to meet once the legislative session is over to discuss other issues of mutual interest. I consider the issue closed and look forward to talking with him at length at a later date. ]
You have received many congratulatory communications since the Whatcom County Council elected you as the replacement for the late State Senator Doug Ericksen. I joined with them in congratulating you. However, after reading your submissions to the County Council and watching your oral statement before the council members, I am compelled to object to an egregious comparison you made within your declarations.
You stated in a letter to the council:
“I was hired full-time and became one of the youngest White House employees during my service. Just like millions of military members that [sic] served during the previous administration, my goal was to honor my country in the best way that I could, regardless of who was president.”
I was stunned by this comparison of your time in Washington, DC with the service of millions in the military, a statement that rings false and is insulting to our armed forces and our veterans. Telling the citizens of Whatcom County that your government employment in an office in Washington, DC somehow rises to the same level of service as that of young men and women, your age, who actually joined the military, and potentially, then actually, put their lives on the line is a false equivalency (note the photo above). These men and women serve around the world, some in the most miserable climates and under great stresses. Their families bear the brunt of frequent moves and suffer their absence during deployments to hostile fire zones. They work night and day, remaining on duty 365 days a year so that you and your family can sleep in peace. They bear arms, obligated to use some of the most terrible engines of war, so that you do not have to. They sweat and freeze and vomit and bleed, but not necessarily in combat as training is brutal and perpetual, even in peace time.
I, too, worked “in the White House” (The Office of the Vice President’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government) and I can assure you that it was not even minimally comparable to my 13 years of military service, especially my time in Viet Nam.
Your statement necessitates a retraction and an apology to all those currently serving in the military as well as veterans who have completed their service.
I will willingly print it as an update to this article.