The United States should link veterans' education benefits to inflation, create an innovation force to speed laboratory development to the battlefield and guarantee soldiers' children will always receive inexpensive in-state tuition rates, Republican Mitt Romney said Monday in commemorating Veterans Day.
The former Massachusetts governor, visiting a company that makes microphones for fighter pilot helmets, said the changes are needed to honor the military men and women who served their country.
Romney has pledged to add 100,000 active-duty troops if elected president, as well as to increase spending on military gear.
He told the workers at Gentex Electro-Acoustics that updating the G.I. bill to better keep pace with inflation is needed, as are the tuition and equipment changes.
"We've got to say that the children, the college students, of our armed services personnel should always know that they're going to receive the special, lowest rate available in every state where their parents might serve so they're able to enjoy education without having to pay an excessively high cost," Romney said in this early voting state.
The innovation force, modeled after a new rapid-equipping force, "can cut down the barriers and the long process it takes to get products from, if you will, the innovation room to the place where they can be most well-used, he said.
Romney took a jab at GOP rival John McCain, the senator from Arizona, when asked a question about the influence of special interest political contributions. Romney complained that supporters of McCain are planning to organize a group that can accept unlimited donations to advertise on the senator's behalf. McCain is the coauthor of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, aimed at controlling special interest donations.
"The irony is literally dripping as you look at the formation of this (group) to support Senator McCain," Romney said.