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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Heckman returns from deployment in Iraq

Special Photo. Doug Heckman, a former congressional candidate who is a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, recently received his third Bronze Star after completing a tour in Iraq.

Special Photo. Doug Heckman, a former congressional candidate who is a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, recently received his third Bronze Star after completing a tour in Iraq.

Former congressional candidate Doug Heckman earned his third Bronze Star.

Heckman, a Democrat who challenged U.S. Rep. John Linder in the 2008 election, recently returned to Norcross after a deployment in Iraq.

"I am proud to have had the opportunity to serve our country again," said Heckman, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves who was stationed in the Baghdad area.

The Green Beret had previously served yearlong tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"The situation in Iraq is vastly improved from my last tour of duty in 2006-07," he said. "Our continued support to this nascent democracy could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East for years to come."

Upon his return home, the West Point graduate said he sees battles here, too.

"I see that the partisan bickering in our own federal government has reached new levels since I left the U.S. in 2009," he said. That is bad for all of us as our national problems have grown larger and the prospects for compromise have diminished. I saw the people of Iraq take back their government, and I think we should, too."

The father of three from Norcross added, "The percentage of politicians with military experience is at an all-time low in Washington. We need more combat veterans in government."