Sen. Johnson mentioned Candace Delis by name during the first U.S. Senate debate in an attempt to tout his record serving Wisconsin's veterans. But as Delis has pointed out in the days since, Sen. Johnson has failed Wisconsin's veterans and exploited her family's tragedy in a desperate attempt to save his own political career: 

Key Points: 

  • “Sen. Johnson claimed...that he’s brought accountability to the people who left my dad dying in a VA waiting room. Nothing could be further from the truth. No person associated with the death of my father has faced any repercussions.” 
  • “He [Sen. Johnson] showed up when the cameras were on. He made sure he had a nice quote in the paper. He even tossed around some of his own cash. My family was a charity case and a photo op for Sen. Johnson. But as soon as the press over my father’s death faded from the headlines and the TV cameras went away, so did Sen. Johnson.”
  • “Sen. Johnson has proven to be irresponsive to the families of countless veterans still suffering from neglect and mismanagement. Too many families, mine included, can’t remember the last time we received a phone call or an update from Sen. Johnson.”

Stevens Point Journal Opinion: Veteran's daughter: Johnson's comments 'reopened a family wound'
By: Candace Delis
October 26, 2016 

Editor’s note: U.S. Army veteran Thomas Baer, 74, died after suffering two strokes at the Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center in January 2015. Family members told USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin in a 2015 interview that Baer wasn’t given anti-clotting medication or a CT scan because the scanner was down. A Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general's report found a doctor at Tomah failed to diagnose a stroke Baer had as he waited in the urgent care clinic but determined that the physician and staff did nothing wrong. 

My head spun when I heard U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson utter my name from the debate stage on Oct. 14. As the daughter of a veteran who died due to negligent care in the VA system, I really hoped to hear both Sen. Johnson and Russ Feingold tell Wisconsinites like me exactly how they plan to prevent future tragedies like the one my family faced from ever happening again. 

But when Sen. Johnson mentioned my name, it wasn’t to offer condolences or offer any solutions to provide better care for veterans and their families. Instead, it was a sad and callous attempt to exploit my family’s tragedy in an effort to save his political career. 

Sen. Johnson claimed he helped my family get the answers we needed and that he’s brought accountability to the people who left my dad dying in a VA waiting room. Nothing could be further from the truth. No person associated with the death of my father has faced any repercussions.

He showed up when the cameras were on. He made sure he had a nice quote in the paper. He even tossed around some of his own cash. My family was a charity case and a photo op for Sen. Johnson. But as soon as the press over my father’s death faded from the headlines and the TV cameras went away, so did Sen. Johnson.

Sen. Johnson has proven to be irresponsive to the families of countless veterans still suffering from neglect and mismanagement. Too many families, mine included, can’t remember the last time we received a phone call or an update from Sen. Johnson.

In spite of a medical experts lengthy outline of the failings, the fact that Carolyn Clancy stated under oath that the care my father received was “totally unacceptable”, that the VA admitted that Dr. Patterson and other staff failed to correctly diagnose and treat my father’s first stroke, the VA still found no fault on their part.  And there is still no real stroke protocol to speak of. 

Sen. Johnson did nothing to work to change that determination in his 400-page discussion of the shortcoming of the Tomah VA. It wasn’t about money, it was about preventing another family from going through the unnecessary suffering that we have. We continue to fight for veterans and their families because we know Sen. Johnson will not. 

There’s been a lot of back and forth over care for our veterans in this race. Much of it has been particularly nasty. But nothing was as shameful as what Sen. Johnson did during the Oct. 14 debate. Sen. Johnson reopened a family wound that’s still scarring, he did so in front of the entire state, and he did so because he doesn’t want people to know that he’s been a failure for families like mine. 

So if I learned anything by watching the debate, it’s that politicians like Sen. Johnson will say and do anything to get re-elected. That’s enough to motivate me on Election Day. 

Candace Delis of Wisconsin Rapids is the daughter of the late Thomas Baer.

Read the full article here.