America's military is increasingly diverse and, as a result, so is our country's veteran population.
Latinos make up about 7 percent of America's total veteran population in 2014, according to a September 2014 report from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Tom Garcia, Commander, USN (ret.) and volunteer co-chair of Florida Vets4Energy, told Latin Business Daily that one of the best ways we can show support for these military members and veterans is by pursuing policies that encourage more domestic energy production.
"From a policy perspective, one of the best ways we can show our thanks to the men and women of our military is by pursuing policies that expand our energy independence," said Garcia. "Continuing to rely on foreign regimes who don't share America's values to purchase our oil is not good for our national security — especially as so many of our Armed Forces are currently serving in those unstable regions of the world."
Garcia said that some of President Obama's recent energy policy decisions are a "step backward" for energy independence. Specifically, Garcia pointed to the president's decision to ban oil and gas development in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), as well as the decision to deny a permit for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
In an interview with Florida Business Daily last month, Garcia expanded on his criticism of President Obama's decision to ban oil and gas development in the OCS.
"If we are relying on other counties for our oil and even our allies are relying on other counties when we could actually be providing it, then we are not as secure as we would like to be," said Garcia. "Most of us who are members of Vets4Energy have either been in the Gulf, fought in the Gulf, been involved in issues that had something to do with oil; and most of (us) remember the oil embargo back in the '70s when Jimmy Carter was president and how that affected the (economy)."
Garcia had kind words for U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), his home state senator and a fellow Latino. Garcia said that Rubio has been "strong" on energy security issues, noting that Rubio supports oil and gas development in the Atlantic OCS and opposed President Obama's Keystone XL pipeline decision.
"Unfortunately, not all politicians are as committed to energy security as Senator Rubio, who is retiring from the U.S. Senate," said Garcia. "And that is unfortunate for our national security and our military."
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