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Politics & Government

Obama To Grace The Steel City In Latest VFW Convention Address

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
President Barack Obama is welcomed by Richard DeNoyr, the the national commanders of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, before is speech at the VFW's 113th National Convention in Reno, Nev. Monday, July 23, 2012.

President Barack Obama hits the Steel City on Tuesday to address the nearly 12,000 men and women expected to attend the 116th Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States national convention, which takes place July 18-22.

Joe Davis, director of public affairs for the VFW, said the organization hopes to hear from the president about national security, the recent Iranian deal and veterans' issues, including insurance and problems known to plague health care provided through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Well, we’re a nation still at war,” Davis said. “We’ve got a lot of enemies overseas, and you know, obviously there’s domestic enemies going on with the unfortunate alleged murder of the four Marines in Tennessee.”

Davis is referencing the shooting that occurred on the morning of July 16 in which a gunman killed four Marines.

Domestic policy will likely lead the day, Davis said.

“You’re talking to America’s largest combat veterans’ organization,” he said. “So obviously our lane, so to speak, is basically veteran service members and their families, and strong national defense and homeland security.”

Pittsburgh-native John Biedrzycki is expected to take command through an election on the convention's final day. Biedrzycki, a retired educator and former Army pay distribution specialist serving in Korea, will be the first national commander ever elected in his hometown, according to Davis.

The VFW, which currently has a nationwide membership of about 1.9 million, was officially founded in 1914 in Pittsburgh, the last year the city hosted a VFW national convention.

Obama has spoken at previous VFW conventions in 2009 and 2012.