A candidate running for a Brooklyn congressional seat had to take time off from the campaign trail because Uncle Sam called him to duty.
Democrat Max Rose, who is challenging incumbent Republican-Conservative U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan in the Nov. 6 election, left the campaign trail for two weeks to take part in training exercises with his National Guard unit, his campaign announced.
The training exercises began during the week of Aug. 5.
Rose, a decorated U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, is a company commander with the 69th Infantry Battalion.
Rose could have sought a postponement of his National Guard training, but chose not to, according to his campaign.
“I did not think twice about leaving the campaign trail to report for National Guard training with my unit,” Rose said in a statement issued prior to his departure. “Serving in the Army and now the Guard has been an incredible honor, and I would never put the campaign before my fellow soldiers. In fact, the problem with Congress today is that politicians are putting their re-elections ahead of our country, and that’s not who I am.”
Rose served as a ranger-qualified infantry captain in the Army and was deployed to Afghanistan, where he was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries he sustained in an explosion. He also earned a Bronze Star.
Rose, who beat a crowded field of several candidates in the Democratic primary in June, is hoping to unseat Donovan, the former Staten Island district attorney who won the seat in New York’s 11th Congressional District in 2015 and who is running for re-election.
The district covers the entire borough of Staten Island and includes all or parts of several Southwest Brooklyn neighborhoods like Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Gravesend.
Donovan easily beat back a primary challenge from former Congressmember Michael Grimm in June.
Jessica Proud, Donovan’s campaign spokesperson, congratulated Rose on his service to the nation and pointed out Donovan’s record on working for a better deal for military service members.
“We thank Mr. Rose for his service. Today, Dan is proud to welcome the president to New York to sign the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives our troops the largest pay raise in nine years and provides critical infrastructure funding to rebuild our military to meet today’s challenges. Ensuring our troops and our veterans are taken care of with the resources they need continues to be one of Congressman Donovan’s top priorities,” Proud told this newspaper on Aug. 13.
President Donald Trump visited Fort Drum in northwest New York on Monday to sign the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives military personnel a 2.6 percent pay raise.