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Minnesota Legislature

Congress asked to act on POW issue

Published (2/20/2009)
By Lee Ann Schutz
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Former professional wrestler Stan “Killer” Kowalski testifies before the House Agriculture, Rural Economies and Veterans Affairs Committee Feb. 18 in support of a bill that would memorialize Congress to appoint an independent counsel to investigate the prisoner of war/missing in action issue. (Photo by Andrew VonBank)Despite efforts by the U.S. Department of Defense, there are still more than 88,000 service members unaccounted for from conflicts back through World War II, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Rep. Leon Lillie (DFL-North St. Paul) sponsors HF303, which memorializes Congress to appoint an independent counsel to investigate the prisoner of war and missing in action issue.

“There has been quite of bit of effort in the past, but there just isn’t a lot of follow through. This is just another way for us, as a state, to say this is important, and we hope that the U.S. government will do the right thing,” he said.

Former professional wrestler Stan “Killer” Kowalski, a World War II veteran and state commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, told the House Agriculture, Rural Economies and Veterans Affairs Committee Feb. 18, “Our government is falling on its backside. They made a promise … we need closure on what’s happening to our veterans who are not returning.”

According to the nonpartisan House Research Department, the 1991 Legislature memorialized Congress to study the issue of POW/MIAs from the Vietnam War. The U.S. Senate responded by appointing the Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs.

Earlier approved by the House Veterans Affairs Division, the bill was approved by the full committee and now awaits action on the House floor.

The companion, SF18, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood), awaits action by the Senate Agriculture and Veterans Affairs Committee.

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