Warwick resident and military veteran John Kennedy says it’s “disgraceful” that Ward 5 Democratic candidate Ed Ladouceur, also a veteran, is using the United States Marine Corps logo on his campaign signs. Both men have served the country as Marines.
Kennedy said he noticed the insignia on Ladouceur’s signs while driving through Ward 5 and immediately became concerned.
“Marines don’t endorse candidates,” said Kennedy. “The military stays out of politics. It doesn’t matter what branch – they stay out of politics. It doesn’t matter if you’re active duty or whatever – they just don’t endorse candidates. As a former Marine, an action like this is unauthorized and illegal. There are laws against this.”
Up until last night, Ladouceur planned to keep the emblem, but after reviewing the law said he would remove it.
Under U.S. Code 7881, Chapter 663, which involves the use of Marine Corps insignia, the seal, emblem and initials of the Marines are listed as property of the United States.
The law reads, “No person may, except with the written permission of the Secretary of the Navy, use or imitate the seal, emblem, name, or initials of the United States Marine Corps in connection with any promotion, goods, services, or commercial activity in a manner reasonably tending to suggest that such use is approved, endorsed, or authorized by the Marine Corps or any other component of the Department of Defense.”
The law continues that if it appears that a “person is engaged or is about to engage in an act or practice which constitutes or will constitute conduct in violation of the law,” the Attorney General has the right to initiate a civil proceeding in a district court. “Such court may, at any time before final determination, enter such restraining orders or prohibitions, or take such other action as is warranted, to prevent injury to the United States or to any person or class of persons for whose protection the action is brought.”
In a release he emailed to a Warwick Beacon reporter yesterday, Ladouceur said he is proud his signs bear the emblem and explained his stance.
“I volunteered to join the Marines, took an oath to defend this great country, went through boot camp and was Honorably Discharged,” he wrote. “I take great pride in my service to our nation and as a former Marine, displaying this insignia is a badge of honor and my right as an Honorably Discharged veteran.”
He also wrote that the U.S. Marine Corps insignia means a great deal to him and he decided to incorporate it on his signs simply to inform people of his background.
“Just as I wear my Marine Corps pin on my suits, displaying the insignia on my signs was second nature to me,” he wrote. “I believe people who run for office should share information about their background and serving as a member of the U.S. Armed Services is a major part of my background.”
While serving as a Marine, Ladouceur said he learned life skills in relation to leadership, dedication and perseverance. He said he has been able to carry these attributes with him through life and his business, as he owns and operates StormTite Home Improvement located on Warwick Avenue.
“What I learned helped me develop a successful business, ignited my passion for community service and, if elected to the council, it will play a role in my common sense approach to each and every issue,” wrote Ladouceur. “In fact, my service has been such a big part of my life that it inspired me to assist veterans and their families by helping to found Builders Helping Heroes, a [non-profit organization] that provides a helping hand to injured combat veterans returning home or families who have lost a loved one in service. If I’m elected to office, people should know that I will continue to provide a voice for issues relative to the concerns of veterans as well as all the issues affecting my constituents in Ward 5.”
In a phone interview with Ladouceur last week, he said he only has the insignia on his larger signs. Also, during a phone call late yesterday evening, Jennifer Bramley of Bramley Communications, who is working with Ladouceur, said, “Ed was unaware of the law and now that he is aware of it he will remove the emblem from his signs.”