In Memory Of Former State Representative Terry Musser

Former State Representative Terry Musser, age 70, died on November 1st.   In 1984, he was elected to the State Assembly for the 92nd District, and served for twenty-four years, retiring in 2008.

I want to express my regard and respect for this man.  I knew him when working in the statehouse and always thought him a step above many others serving in the assembly.

If you knew Musser in his official capacity as a legislator you would agree with me that he was a straight shooter and forthright when he talked to you.  He dealt with state issues as he felt them in his gut.  But what so set him apart from many others was the fact he was just pleasant to be around.  That sometimes can be a rare find in the capitol.

During the first budget session, which seemed to linger on for longer than anyone thought possible, it was Musser who pulled up a chair next to mine in front of a large window in the parlor.  A cool breeze was wafting in, which was in stark contrast to the chambers which were not air conditioned.   He needed a break, and so it was there we had our first real conversation.   I recall he wanted to know where I came from.  After telling him I had worked in radio he leaned in so no else could hear and said with a thumb pointing to the chamber, “Some of them should never be given a microphone.”

During a road trip around the state for the Tourism Committee he walked up to me in a bar where we were to have dinner.  He handed me a beer he had bought saying,” After a day with Lary (Swoboda) you really need one of these.”

Over the years I always felt Musser was just ‘one of the guys’ in the building.  He was down to earth and real.

With his passing we have lost one of the most decent who has served our state.

In Defense of Rep. Terry Musser

This weekend I have heard some rather harsh remarks concerning Wisconsin Republican Representative Terry Musser, and the news story that broke in the Capital Times about his military resume.  To hear some talk one would think he had made some huge grievous mistake on purpose for political gain. This whole issue is overblown, and is just not important.

Let us take a look at the nuts and bolts of the issue as reported by the Madison Capital Times.

The Missouri-based P.O.W. Network charged on its Web site that Musser’s military records show he never completed training for the Special Forces, popularly known as the Green Berets. Musser’s official biography in the state Blue Book describes him as having served two tours in Vietnam as a “paratrooper and Green Beret, 6th Special Forces Fort Bragg, N.C.” between 1965 and 1968.  He served with the 6th Special Forces, which were based at Fort Bragg and never deployed to Vietnam, from 1966 to 1967. But according to Special Forces veterans, serving with a unit is not the same as having completed the training to qualify as a member of Special Forces.

If you know Terry Musser in his official capacity as a legislator you know him to be a straight shooter and forthright when he talks to you.  He deals with issues as he feels them in his gut, and he is just pleasant to be around.  That sometimes can be a rare find in the Statehouse.  For anyone to think that he needed to jazz up his military resume to enhance his image just does not understand Terry Musser.  He is down to earth and real.  You may disagree with him on policy, but one cannot say he is a schemer or a manipulator.  (For the record I came to know him while serving as a Committee Clerk for an Assembly Committee, of which he was a member.)

As the Capital Times reported, “Musser said in a prepared statement Friday that while he wore a green beret when serving with the Special Forces in Fort Bragg, “I was not Special Forces qualified. My biography does not make that distinction clear enough.”  He added that he was “not old enough to begin training for Special Forces qualification” and that upon returning to Vietnam, “(I) ended my tenure with the Special Forces.”

In the end, as the news article noted Musser’s case is “not uncommon.”  And I repeat, to know Representative Musser is all that needs to be said about the matter.  This is a simple mistake. 

This whole story is all the more amusing at a time when our President who does have a military record with many unanswered questions used misinformation as a vehicle to lead us to war in Iraq.  Lets keep things in perspective. 

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