DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa veterans gathered at the statehouse for some networking, and some lobbying. The annual Veteran’s Day on the Hill is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
“Iowa and our country, is a better place because of your commitment to service before self, and we owe you our unending appreciation,” said Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. She credited the Iowa Home Base Initiative for helping bring veterans to Iowa.
The day was also a chance for veterans to lobby lawmakers, face to face.
“You can go to the front of the House, and the front of the Iowa Senate, each chamber has a tablet, you can tear off a sheet ask who your Senator or Representative is,” said Iowa Veteran’s Affairs Department Director Steve Lukan. “You can send a message in and say you’d like to speak with them, I would like to encourage you all to at least go up to the Chambers today, and help put a face on the Veteran’s Community if you’re able.”
There are no shortage of legislative priorities a veterans’ docket. Things like funding for the Iowa Veterans’ Home, The Iowa Veterans’ Cemetery, The Iowa Veteran’s Trust Fund, Funding for County Veteran Programs, and for Military Home Ownership programs. The Senate and House have committees which take up Veterans’ issues.
I’ve actually been working for the last session and a half about the Green Alert Bill which is essentially an Amber Alert
for veterans that are missing in distress,” said Michael Young, of the Beaverdale VFW. “Passed the Senate last session and is in the House this year.
For Young, the turnout of veterans on this snowy day was not what he hoped for.
“I work on various legislative issues for Veterans,”said Young. “We used to have a lot more veterans up here, so t’s kind of disappointing we don’t have more veterans, veterans advocates and families up here for tis day.”
Veterans could visit tables for various veteran supporting groups like VFW, American Legion, The Iowa Veterans’ Home and others.
“To our Veterans Service Organizations out in the crowd today, thank you,” said Brigadier General Shawn Ford, of the Iowa Air National Guard. “Your willingness to commit your time and resources to provide valuable services and assistance speaks volumes to the esteem you hold for those who have answered our nation’s call to service.”