As a veteran, I strongly oppose Senate Bill 13, which would delay and deny justice to veterans and other victims of asbestos. Veterans were unknowingly exposed to asbestos while serving their country, and even though veterans make up only 8 percent of the population, they comprise 30 percent of all mesothelioma related deaths.
I witnessed death from mesothelioma cancer when a fellow sailor from Menasha died two weeks before retirement. He died six months after his initial diagnosis. In the Navy, sailors ingest much asbestos. At one point, I was repairing a mechanical compartment on board the USS Benjamin Stoddert, and the air was so thick with asbestos dust, we could not see the ladder to exit our work area. I worked in this asbestos environment many days at sea because the dust could not escape the confined work area.
Veterans organizations, such as the VFW and Military Order of the Purple Heart, have opposed this legislation for good reason. Our veterans have put their lives on the line to protect the rights and justice of Americans. They deserve their own unimpeded access to justice. On behalf of fellow veterans, I urge the Wisconsin Senate to oppose SB 13.