To the Editor:
Veterans' Day is a time for reflection and remembrance. As Americans, we are deeply grateful to the many people who have committed to serve our country today and in the past. As Minnesotans, we are proud of our family members, neighbors, and co-workers who serve or have served. This year, I would especially like to recognize the 2,600 members of the Minnesota National Guard who have recently returned home to their families, jobs and communities after serving our country.
In the State Legislature, we worked hard last session to pass bills that will make life better for veterans as they return home to Minnesota. The centerpiece of our legislation is additional funding for the Minnesota GI Bill, which will now provide up to $1,000 a semester in financial aid to returning soldiers for college and post-secondary school training. The bill also extends education benefits to the spouses of military members who were killed in action.
We passed the Heroes Earned Retirement Opportunities Act, which allows tax-exempt combat pay to be used for IRA contributions. We increased overall funding for the State Soldier Assistance Program by 14 percent, and the budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs by 70 percent. Finally, the Veterans County Service Officer assistance grants were increased by $1.5 million, which will enhance programs provided to veterans.
Minnesota's soldiers and their families deserve our support. Please join me in thanking our veterans and active service members for all they do.
Lyndon Carlson, State Representative
Rep. Lyndon Carlson represents Crystal, Robbinsdale, and Golden Valley in the Minnesota House and Chairs the House Finance Committee.