Barack Obama, Ryan Honl

Gulf War veteran and VA whistleblower Ryan Honl talks to President Barack Obama about the problems at the Tomah Veterans Administration Medical Center during the president’s visit to La Crosse last July.

Ryan Honl said he enjoyed meeting Republican leaders, including Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, at Lincoln Day events last month, but the Veterans Administration whistleblower has decided against a run for Congress.

The 44-year-old announced this week on his Facebook page that he’ll concentrate on helping Johnson retain his Senate seat against its former occupant, Democrat Russ Feingold. His name had surfaced as a possible candidate after he attended Republican Lincoln Day dinners in Crawford and La Crosse counties last month.

“The main reason is to put all of my extra time and resources into helping Ron Johnson in his efforts to defeat Russ Feingold,” Honl wrote. “That is a greater and more important goal this election cycle. ...

“And, of course, it also frees me up to continue the fight for veterans’ rights. Socialized medicine is failing our nation’s veterans. The unions and Democrats, along with hypocritical Republicans joining them, support a system that lacks accountability in government.”

Honl worked at the Tomah VA hospital for two months in 2014. He resigned after filing formal complaints about fraud and the over-prescription of opiates, saying he had been retaliated against by co-workers. He reached a settlement with the VA last year. He said he now works as a supervisor for Goodwill Industries.

Honl’s decision means there are no announced challengers among 3rd District Republicans.

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