Message from a proud 'sucker' and 'loser'

I am a sucker and loser. I served for total of 27 years in the Army. I first joined the Army in 1967 and served for three years.

During this time I volunteered and served a year in Vietnam.

I got out of the Army in 1970 and stayed out until 1985 when I joined the Tennessee Army National Guard. I served until 2009 for a total of 24 years. I served in Desert Storm in 1991 at age 43. At age 57 I volunteered and served 16 months in Iraq as a radar operator.

I'm proud to be a sucker and loser. I would do it all over again if I suddenly was 18 years old. Thank you.

Joel Blake


Make voting easier for all; elect Gorman in November

As someone who recently moved to Chattanooga from Maryland, I can see why Tennessee has such poor voter registration and participation rates.

Tennesseans who have never lived anywhere else might not realize how hard it is to register and vote here, and how easily they can be denied their right to vote.

As a graphic designer who has created many forms, I noticed the paper registration application is unnecessarily confusing, and any mistake or omission is grounds for rejection. Then there's the law requiring people to vote in person the first time, unless they make a special trip to the Election Commission office to have their ID validated. This places a huge burden on newly registered students or seniors needing to vote absentee.

Maryland has Automatic Voter Registration. AVR makes it so much easier to participate in the democratic process, and it's been proven not to benefit either party. Maryland, for example, is a largely Democratic state with a Republican governor.

Meg Gorman, who is running to represent us in Congress, supports AVR and similar reforms to make voting simple and secure. It's time to elect someone who can ensure voting is a right and not an obstacle course.

Jane Aylward