Istrongly disagree with your misleading and partisan editorial opinion published last week, entitled "Tragic local reminder of the need for Violence Against Women Act."
In your editorial you wrote, "In a nutshell, some Republicans objected to the Senate version that expanded protection to include gays and lesbians, Native Americans and illegal immigrants. That seemed to be what Rep. Scott Perry, R-4th District, was referring to when he explained his vote against the bill finally approved last month."
If you disagree with Congressman Perry's reasons for voting against this legislation, I respect that; however, you didn't bother to ask what they were. Your newspaper never contacted our office to get Scott's reasoning for his vote, which he made after detailed analysis of the legislation; rather, you paraphrased a few quotes he gave to another newspaper and used that to express your opinion.
As the Congressman's senior policy advisor -- who also happens to be a woman -- I find reprehensible your failure to report the facts surrounding his vote.
Scott voted for a version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that was offered from the House -- which was defeated -- and then opposed the Senate version, which was passed and ultimately signed into law by the president.
Both bills, including one for which he voted, sought to protect victims of domestic violence and sexual assault by: strengthening the emphasis on investigating and prosecuting offenders; increasing training for law enforcement and prosecutors; improving emergency and transitional housing services for victims; and enhancing penalties for assault and improving federal stalking statutes. Both bills also promoted educational awareness to prevent violence and improve services for young victims.
Scott supported the House version because it ensured that necessary funds went to victims (not bureaucracy) by limiting salaries and administrative costs to 5 percent of the total VAWA funding.
The House bill prohibited grantees from using federal VAWA funds to lobby for more government funding, whereas the Senate bill did not. The House bill provided a constitutional route for Native American Indian tribes to prosecute non-Indian offenders for domestic violence crimes; the Senate bill did not.
Scott strongly supports efforts to strengthen protections to all women, regardless of race or sexual orientation, who are faced with violent, abusive and dangerous situations; the Senate bill did not. All women should be treated equally.
Scott Perry is a loving husband and father of two beautiful daughters. He's served honorably and tirelessly as a soldier, public servant and person of great integrity, compassion and justice. I've known him for more than 20 years and served with him militarily as long.
Is he a friend? Yes. Do I work for him now? Yes. I chose both avenues precisely because of his courage to do what's right -- even when the decision is unpopular. That you attempt to paint a picture that he cares more about partisan politics than the safety of women is ludicrous and offensive. Your policy disagreements are always welcome, but certainly would be more credible if you refrained from character attacks and stuck to reporting the facts.
-- Lauren E. Muglia is chief of staff for Rep. Scott Perry.