A ground-breaker for women in the military, Kathryn “Kat” Gates-Skipper is now an advocate for veteran’s rights and was the keynote speaker at the annual Reagan Day Dinner sponsored by the Warren County Republican Party.
“The government takes care of everyone else, including the illegal aliens, before they take care of their veterans,” Skipper told those on hand at the GOP dinner at Westwood Church of Christ’s fellowship hall Saturday night. “Veterans have to endure the effects of their service for the rest of their lives.”
Skipper presently spearheads veterans’ rights efforts in Florida and serves on President Donald Trump’s advisory council for veterans. She has been a veteran advocate since 2012.
She joined the Marines in 1975 and was the first woman to participate in overnight field training exercises and the first woman to be involved in war zone duty during Operation Desert Storm. She was in charge of securing the personal effects for those who were killed in the line of duty.
“That included the worst single day of casualties when a Scud missile hit our base in Saudi Arabia, killing 28 soldiers,” Skipper recalled, noting that experiencing the loss many families endure made her want to advocate for veterans once she retired from active duty.
She noted her husband earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart in Vietnam, yet it took him fighting eight years of red tape to get assistance from the Veteran’s Administration. Skipper said she proudly delivered signatures to then-President Barack Obama demanding VA reform in 2013 and that in 2014 an act was passed to help reform the VA.
“It’s now easier to get rid of VA employees who don’t do their jobs,” Skipper said, noting the Whistle Blower Protection Act also encourages people to come forward if they know of corruption in the VA. “We want to make sure these scandals at the VA don’t happen again.”
Along with Skipper’s speech, 47th District state Rep. Judd Matheny warned Nashville that it will pay a heavy price for even considering becoming a sanctuary city, protecting illegal aliens, by not cooperating with federal authorities.
Matheny said Nashville, being the state capital, is setting a bad example by thumbing its nose at federal authority when it comes immigration enforcement.
“It will give Tennessee a black eye,” Matheny said.
Congresswoman Diane Black, a rumored candidate for governor, agreed Nashville is making a dangerous move in becoming a sanctuary city.
“We need to jealously stand up for what we believe in this state,” Black said.