In a pair of new spots from U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, the parents and wife of a former Marine who died after he was overprescribed pain killers denounce attack ads against the Madison Dem over the Tomah VA.
The spots come one day after Baldwin’s GOP rival Leah Vukmir released an ad in which she charged the Dem senator knew about the opioid crisis at the Tomah VA, but did nothing and “a veteran died.”
Baldwin’s campaign said it’s putting six figures behind the new ads, which will run statewide.
Jason Simcakoski died from mixed use toxicity in 2014, and his parents Marv and Linda are featured in one of Baldwin’s new ads, while his widow Heather is in the other.
In both 60-second spots, they recall Jason as someone who wanted “to be No. 1 at what he did” and was “the type of Marine that gave 100 percent.” The ads then note Jason suffered a head injury and went to Tomah.
“They gave him way too much meds,” Marv says. “When I confronted the doctor, she told me that I may know how to pound nails and build houses, but I don’t know anything about taking care of my son.”
In that spot, Linda adds they “wanted to help other veterans” before Marv says they’re “just happy that we have Senator Baldwin to help the veterans that are out there. She brought both parties together to help pass a law named after our son, Jason, to make the VA accountable.”
Marv later adds, “When I see these ads attacking Senator Baldwin, I just want to say ‘Stop.’”
Linda closes that ad, “This isn’t politics. We’re trying to help the veterans, and that is what Tammy Baldwin is doing. She’s just a good person.”
In the other ad, Heather says Jason’s family has been working with Baldwin to pass a bill in Jason’s name, and it will “help regulate what the VA can prescribe to veterans to help hold them accountable.” The law passed in 2016.
“When I see these attack ads against Tammy Baldwin, using Jason’s death, I think it’s shameful,” Heather says to close the spot. “Tammy has literally been there with us every step of the way for three years. She’s the one helping us do right by our veterans.”