The cupcakes challenge: Andrew Rice calls on Inhofe to help troops

Yesterday in Norman, Oklahoma, a nice young man made a donation to Bake Sales for Body Armor, a project that does just what the name implies. See, the U.S. government has significant shortfalls in supplying some of the little things that soldiers like to have handy, like effective armor to help keep them safe.

The Bake Sales for Body Armor idea was started by an Iraq vet and the wife of another soldier about three years ago, and bake sales have been held all across the country.

Students at Oklahoma City Community College held their fourth such fundraiser on Thursday, and they were happy to see a return customer, who they know does more than just mouth platitudes like “Support the troops.” He actually puts his money where his mouth is.

Who was it buying cupcakes for a cause? Oklahoma state legislator Andrew Rice, who wants to replace the infamous Republican wingnut Senator, Jim Inhofe, who just keeps embarrassing us on a global scale, if you know what I mean.

Andrew Rice with Iraq War vet
Miranda Norman at Bake Sales for
Body Armor at OCCC, April 3, 2008

Inhofe is one of those who are gung ho for the war in Iraq, even now. But, if you actually examine his voting record on bills that would give those fighting it tangible support, including armor, it shows different priorities.

Most folks just know him as a Climate Change Denier but that barely scratches the surface of what's wrong with Inhofe. For someone who is so aggressively pro-war, he's incredibly anti-veteran and anti-service member. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America looked at his voting record and gave him a D-. On October 5, 2005 his deciding vote against the bipartisan Health Care for Veterans Amendment killed a bill that had passed in the House 398 to 19. The following month Chuck Grassley and Barbara Boxer co-sponsored a bill to get desperately needed funds for counseling, mental health, and rehabilitation services for veterans diagnosed with mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder, or substance abuse. Again, Inhofe voted against our military veterans. That's been his pattern, a pattern that includes outrageous tax cuts for millionaires while short-changing vets.

But vets aren't the only people Inhofe has consistently short-changed. His voting record on active duty military personnel is abysmal– the worst in the entire U.S. Senate. Of the 14 roll calls involving the welfare of our fighting men and women since May, 2003, Inhofe has voted against them a breathtaking 14 times.

So, does Sen. Jim Inhofe support the troops or not? Andrew Rice — and I — want to know. Maybe you also wonder about this little niggling issue…

I suggest we contact him and find out. Please join me in politely asking Sen. Inhofe to join other Oklahomans in buying some body armor for the troops that we all want to come home safe.

Senate offices and phone list

I can't find contact info for his campaign office but his Facebook page is public and has his email as and phone as (405) 843-4294, which is different than the OKC Senate office number.

Here's the press release from the campaign explaining Andrew's challenge to Sen. Inhofe. Below that is an update with some facts about Inhofe's voting record on “supporting the troops” for real.

Rice Donates to Body Armor Drive, Challenges Inhofe to Do the Same

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 3, 2008) State Senator Andrew Rice, D-OKC,
personally contributed to a fundraising drive today to provide body
armor and other supplies to American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan,
and challenged U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe to do the same.

Rice is opposing Inhofe in this year's general election on November 4.

The “Bake Sale for Body Armor” currently taking place in the College
Union at Oklahoma City Community College is the fourth such fund
raiser conducted by the college chapter of Young Democrats. All
donations for the purchase of cookies, pie and cakes are fully
tax-deductible. Previous events have netted more than $5,500.

“While it is regrettable that our troops are still not being supplied
with all the modern equipment that is available to protect them, I am
extremely proud of the Oklahoma City Community College students for
doing their part, and I'm happy to do mine,” Rice said.

Bake Sales for Body Armor is a national, non-profit organization
formed in response to a Department of Defense Study that showed that
74 out of 93 Marines killed between March 2003 and June 2005 could
have been saved by side-protecting body armor that was not being
provided for American troops. While the Defense Department has
increased shipments of body armor, there are still unmet needs in Iraq
including medical supplies and communications gear. Proceeds from Bake
Sales for Body Armor will supply as much equipment as possible for
soldiers deployed around the world.

Rice said that much of the proceeds from body armor bake sales are now
being used to purchase helmet liners to protect solders from
concussions that result from explosions and drop-leg armor that
protects their femoral arteries from IED explosions.

“These items usually cost about $200 each, so it doesn't require a
huge amount of money to save the life of just one of our brave
soldiers,” Rice said. “I hope Senator Inhofe and other members of
Oklahoma's Congressional delegation will join me in contributing to
this worthy cause.”

Rice said that even though the sponsoring organization is a Young
Democrats chapter, “this isn't about being Democrat or Republican.
It's about doing the right thing for our troops.”

Interested donors who can't visit Oklahoma City Community College
campus today may contribute online at

Here's a update I received from Andrew's campaign with more info on Inhofe's voting record:

Inhofe's record on voting for needed body armor for troops is abysmal. A couple of examples:

In late 2003, Inhofe voted against better body armor for our troops, by opposing an amendment to the FY04 Supplemental Appropriations bill to provide an additional $322 million for safety equipment, including body armor, to troops in Iraq. Earlier that year, Inhofe voted against providing an additional $1.047 billion for procurement of National Guard and Reserve equipment. According to Mary Landrieu, the bill's sponsor, much of the money would have been used for protective gear for Guard and Reserve troops. [Vote 376, 10/2/03; Vote 116, 4/2/03]

Because of Inhofe's terrible voting history on issues related to active-duty military personnel and veterans, Andrew Rice has challenged him to show some support for our troops by personally contributing to the worthy cause of Bake Sales for Body Armor in order to demonstrate some level of support for our servicemen and -women.

Also, take a look at this mention on Inhofe's voting record today from Down with Tyrrany!. (This follows his recent post on HuffPo and Andrew's discussion of the Iraq War.)