Sen. Thom Tillis talked with veterans at Richard’s Coffee Shop in Mooresville lasat week, discussing issues related to veterans as well as offering his opinion on a wide array of issues. Tillis expressed support for President Donald Trump and securing the border while saying people needed to educate themselves before commenting on the placement of Confederate statues.

Approximately 40 men and women in uniform, as well as supporters who were ready with comments, questions and concerns, turned out for the event.

Tillis approached many veterans personally before he started speaking.

“One thing I want to tell you all, the reason why I like to come to events like this or meetings like this, is this is where we get to do case work… this is where we get to find things you deserve that you’re not getting,” Tillis said.

He said he wants to help change that by offering them an outlet – his personal office. Tillis encouraged veterans to talk to him and his staff before seeking legal counsel on an issue.

“It’s the most rewarding part of this job,” he said of working with veterans. “The other reason I came here is you can be the eyes and ears for the folks that don’t come here who are veterans.”

Tillis spoke of the suicide rate among veterans as well as why so many feel disconnected. He said he wants to help bridge the gap.

“I actually thought I was going to spend a career in the U.S. Air Force,” Tillis said, as he explained those dreams fell short after a car accident.

“I really relate to people who want to serve this country, who have served this country, who have been recognized for valor and I appreciate so much everything you have done in the past,” Tillis said. “Now it’s my turn to return the favor.”

After his remarks Tillis presented the coffee shop with an American flag that had been flown over the U.S. capitol as a show of respect to the veteran community.

“The American flag is not just a piece of cloth, it’s a statement about our history, it’s a statement about this country and for anybody who would want to take it down or not use it as the starting point for talking about this great nation – it’s just ridiculous,” Tillis later said about the flag.

Veterans asked Tillis a wide array of questions, including about his policies, voter fraud, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Confederate statues and the Trump administration.

Tillis stated he did not want to offend anyone with his responses to questions that were asked as they might be considered Democrat or far-left. He said he viewed this event as non-political.

Tillis, who was recently endorsed by Trump, said, “With all respect to President Trump, I believe most of his policies make sense; it’s why I voted with him 95 percent of the time.”

The senator also touched on his perspective on issues at the border with Mexico.

“If we don’t secure our border, we can’t secure this nation,” Tillis said. “We have got to support the president while securing the border; we (have) got to support the president on military spending.”

Trump has a great chance of getting reelected, Tillis stated.

“I will get reelected … and we will continue to do great work,” Tillis confidently said, as he projects he will win over all who oppose him in future elections.

Tillis also called for all who want to speak out to be educated before spreading their opinion about things such as kneeling for the American flag and taking down Confederate statues.

“Our history is our history and we don’t necessarily have to be proud of everything we did, but it was a part of our history and all of a sudden erasing that and not learning lesson from history, even things that might have been dark times in our country… because when you stop paying attention to history you are doomed to repeat it,” Tillis said.

As Tillis left, veterans continued to shake his hand and say goodbye until he reached his vehicle.

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