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To the Editor,
Our veterans represent some of the most courageous, dedicated people in our community. Recently I talked with a constituent of mine, a veteran, who returned from service in Iraq 10 months ago and is still looking for employment. He has given 21 years of service to this country, putting our safety and comfort ahead of his own. Yet for almost an entire year he has not been able to find work.
This story is disheartening—and it has spurred me to increase awareness of a law passed last session aimed at helping veterans achieve economic opportunity. The legislation, authored by Rep. Dan Severson (now a candidate for Secretary of State), provides state hiring and contracting preferences to veterans and veteran-owned small businesses. As the bill itself states, the program is designed to help ease the transition from military to civilian life, and to compensate veterans for their sacrifices to Minnesota and the nation during their military service.
Minnesotans understand these sacrifices made by veterans and their families, and I am proud that we instituted a policy to benefit veterans in state contracting and employment. With this letter I hope that more veterans become aware of these benefits and are able to take advantage of their potential. It is also important that program implementers are held accountable, and that we follow through on the bill’s promise—it is the least this grateful state can do for our veterans.
With the 2010 legislative session to convene on February 4th, I will continue to stand up for our veterans and for policies to help them—and all Minnesotans—achieve economic opportunity and renewed prosperity.
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