Greetings as we prepare to honor our nation’s veterans this Saturday on Veterans Day. Scores of ceremonies will take place throughout our region recognizing the brave men and women who have served our country. I encourage you to attend and pay tribute to those who have sacrificed so much.
With our nation still locked in a global struggle to defeat radical Islamic terrorism, we continue to ask our young men and women to go forward into harm’s way to keep us safe and protect this great nation.
As a member of the House Veterans Affairs Division, I am pleased to be closely involved in making sure that my fellow veterans are remembered and treated fairly here in Minnesota.
During the 2017 legislative session we accomplished a number important items including a $1.4 million increase in operating funds for Minnesota’s Veterans Affairs Department programs and services to veterans.
The Minnesota GI Bill was enhanced with expanded apprenticeship and on-the-job training benefits including:
These improvements follow historic successes during the 2015-16 legislative session. A major achievement included exempting military retirement benefits from Minnesota’ state income tax. Taking effect for the 2016 tax year, that provision added Minnesota to the vast majority of states that openly welcome career military members to make return home to Minnesota upon retirement.
We have much more work to do. We rely on a small, dedicated all-volunteer force that are often making back-to-back deployments into very hostile environments. The repeated exposure to high stress combat environments takes a heavy toll even on our most experienced and battle hardened service members.
That requires we make sure that when our service members return home we provide the necessary support to ensure they fully reintegrate into the civilian world and lead the happy, productive lives which they deserve.
Have a good weekend and, again, please take time this weekend to honor and celebrate our nation’s veterans. For us in the northern 1/3 of the state, we still have a week left of deer season, so be safe and may your aim be true.