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Candidate to stop using Marine Corps emblem in campaign

Local candidate for county judge Bob Waller said Tuesday he will stop using the U.S. Marine Corps Eagle, Globe and Anchor in his campaign materials after learning that its use was prohibited and violated U.S. trademark law.

“I didn’t get specific permission,” Waller said when asked about it Tuesday. “I see the Marine Corps emblem used all the time, and I’m sure all those people or none of those people got permission to use it.”

Waller, a Vietnam veteran, is seeking the Republican Party nomination in the March 4 primary election, along with local attorney Tom Pollard. Both had filed to seek the nomination before the death of County Judge Pat Tinley last month.

The Eagle, Globe and Anchor, one of the most universally recognized symbols of any military branch of service, has appeared prominently on campaign signs, advertising material and on Waller’s campaign website.

Whether or not former Marines may use the Eagle, Globe and Anchor in campaign materials is a specific question in the frequently asked questions section of the U.S. Marine Corps Division of Public Affairs’ website.

“No, you may not use the official Marine Corps Seal, Eagle, Globe and Anchor (EGA), or any other USMC insignia or trademark in this manner, since it might create the impression that your candidacy is endorsed by or affiliated with the USMC in some way, or that the USMC has chosen your candidacy over other candidates.”

The site goes on to explain that the U.S. Marine Corps emblem is a trademark of the Marine Corps and, as such, is protected under federal trademark law. The site also states that use of any Corps emblems is strictly prohibited in any political context and that prohibition is consistent with the Marine Corps Uniform Regulations.

Bob Ogg is commandant of the Marine Corps League Department of Texas, the state division of the national organization for current and former Marines. Ogg said he was aware of the regulation and the prohibition from using Marine Corps emblems in political campaigns.

Ogg said he could not speak specifically about Waller’s campaign materials but that the regulations are well known.

“All good Marines, we comply with our orders and our regulations,” Ogg said.

When asked about the use of the emblem in his campaign materials, Waller did not initially say he would remove it and characterized it as being “awful picky;” however, he later said he researched the issue and would remove it.

“By using the emblem, I was in no way implying that the Marine Corps was promoting my candidacy, but merely that I was a Marine Corps veteran and that patriotism was one of my principles. It bothers me that someone would complain about its use, but I guess that’s politics,” Waller said.

Early voting ahead of the March 4 primary elections will be Feb. 18-28 at the Kathleen C. Cailloux City Center for the Performing Arts in Kerrville and the West Kerr County Courthouse Annex in Ingram. The Kerr County judge’s race is one of seven locally contested races that will be on the ballot in addition to the race for state representative and several statewide contests.

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