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ICYMI: Ohio Veterans Blast Greg Landsman

June 25, 2024

5 Min. Read

CINCINNATI, OH | June 25, 2024In a must-read opinion piece published in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio Veterans blasted Greg Landsman for his attacks against Orlando Sonza.

You can read Captain Forsberg's full article HERE and below.


Landsman claims to want to help Hamilton County veterans while denigrating one

Justin Forsberg, Opinion contributor


The Enquirer published an article on June 4 titled "'Serving veterans isn't a side gig.' Dems slam GOP candidate's new job." A more accurate headline would be "Two partisan politicians shamelessly exploit underserved veteran crisis by attacking a veteran."

Orlando Sonza, a 2013 graduate of West Point who served as an infantry officer in the Army, is being targeted because he is guilty of running for Congress against Democratic Rep. Greg Landsman. Sonza is a distinguished Army veteran who was hand-selected by the Hamilton County Veterans Service Commission board to remedy the dilemma of grossly underserved veterans in the county.

Landsman and Connie Pillich, the Democratic candidate for county prosecutor, recently staged a press conference at the Hamilton County Veterans Service Commission office to criticize Sonza for accepting the commission's executive director job while running against Landsman. The criticism is beyond hypocritical because Landsman and Pillich held elected positions while running for different offices.


As a group of concerned veterans from all walks of life, we are repulsed by the personal attacks leveled at Sonza, a brother-in-arms who is trying to solve critical problems at the Veterans Service Commission. Some of us hold office, some of us have served in foreign wars, and some of us depend on the very services the commission should be providing. What is lost in this political sideshow is the serious problem that $31 million granted to help county veterans has been reallocated to the county's general fund over the past five years, according to reports from the Enquirer and WCPO-TV (Channel 9).

Why were veterans' funds diverted to a Hamilton County "slush fund," and who is accounting for how the money is being spent?


Incidentally, Hamilton County government is almost exclusively controlled by Landsman and Pillich's Democratic Party. Even though Hamilton County has three times the number of veterans as the eight surrounding counties, officials here spend far less on them. For instance, in 2023, the Veterans Service Commission received over $7 million in funding, but spent only $930,000 on veterans, placing it at the bottom of total spending among neighboring counties, according the Enquirer and WCPO. That amounts to only 18% of the allocated funds − maybe a record low spending rate in the history of government bureaucracies.


Are Hamilton County veterans less needy or deserving of these funds than veterans in neighboring counties?  Landsman and Pillich are not interested in answering these questions or addressing these problems. Instead, they use the crisis as an opportunity to promote their political careers and besmirch a good man in the process.

A five-member panel of veterans recognized the serious problems plaguing the Veterans Service Commission, and recently approached and hand-selected Sonza to address the problems, fully aware that he was running for office. In the June 4 Enquirer article, several members of this expert veteran panel shared their confidence in Sonza and recognized him as preeminently qualified.


Landsman, Sonza's opponent for Ohio’s 1st Congressional District seat, believes he knows better than a panel of experts and veterans. After all, Landsman is not a veteran, but he does have a completely unrelated degree from Harvard. During the press conference, Landsman personally insulted Sonza by claiming he is "running (a) sham campaign." Landsman feels the best way to help veterans is to personally denigrate one.


The sham is Landsman’s feigned concern for veterans, which is amply demonstrated by his voting record. Landsman voted to obstruct military and veteran funding by opposing House Resolution 2670 − National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024, which would have appropriated badly needed funds for Veteran Affairs and increased military pay by 5.2%.

Why did Landsman vote against this bill? Because the bill prohibited diverting VA funds to pay for free health care for illegal immigrants. One might conclude Landsman prioritizes illegal immigrants over local veterans.

As a collective group of veterans, we have some insider’s perspective on this problem. The Hamilton County Veterans Service Commission was a mess, and no one in local politics wanted to touch it with a 10-foot pole. The panel approached Sonza because they knew, as a veteran, CPA, someone who provides free accounting services to veterans, and a prosecutorial attorney, that he was the right person for the job.

Sonza selflessly agreed to clean up the mess. Conversely, Landsman and Pillich are attempting to thwart his efforts for their political gain. Perhaps instead of obstructing Sonza, Landsman and Pillich can show they truly care about veterans by working with him to ensure Hamilton County veterans receive more than 18% of the funds owed to them. 


Justin Forsberg served as a United States Marine Corps captain from 2011-2015 and served in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He currently works as an engineer and writes this on behalf of a group of Hamilton County veterans including: Mike Allen, who served 12 years in the Army Reserve, attorney and radio talk show host; Lou Terhar, who served as a Navy commander, U.S. Naval Academy graduate (Annapolis), Ohio state senator (8th District) and Ohio House representative, CEO and entrepreneur; Chris McDowell, Army veteran and attorney; Curt Hartman, Navy lieutenant-Nuclear Submarine Duty (1983 - 1991), U.S. Naval Academy graduate (Annapolis), Court of Common Pleas judge and attorney; Max Black, Navy Submarine Recon (2005-2010); Kenneth P. George, Jr.,  Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War; Katie Gillespie, Air Force RN (1987 - 1992); Andy Gillespie, Air Force Engineer (1988 - 1997); Tracy Gordon, Army Officer and RN (2012-2017, Army Reserves (2017-2021); Louis Gordon, Army officer (2012 - 2020), served in Afghanistan and Kuwait; Markuz Jenkins, Air Force (1979-1990); Tim Koenig, Army (1979-1990), 82nd Airborne Division; Lawrence Laake, Navy (1987-1989), served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and currently an executive with Fujitsu Digital IT Service; Christian Lach,  Air Force, deployed to Joint base Lewis-McChord, Middle East and Kunsan, South Korea; Matt Ramsey, Army (1984-1992); Don Roberts, Air Force (1984-1988), attorney and former Covington police officer; Guy Wolf, Army major (1980-1986), Army Reserves (1987-1991), U.S. Army Academy graduate (West Point), currently a project manager for Healthcare IT; Thomas Fontanesi, Special Forces, 1st Army Ranger Battalion, 75th Regiment (2010-2013), served in Afghanistan on three deployments and currently a cybersecurity manager; Harold Michael Stringer, Army veteran (1968-1970); James Marshall, Army veteran (1968-1970); Alfreda Green Harvey, Air Force (1979-1982/1982-1984), Air National Guard (1998-2000), and part-time caregiver for veterans; John McCahan, Army officer (1988-1998) 10th Mountain Division and 82nd Airborne, served in Panama, Somalia, Kosovo, and Western Africa (Joint Operations Mission); John Hindery, USMC (1970-1976), served in Vietnam, currently retired.

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