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2014 Endorsed Candidates

2014 Endorsed Candidates

CANDIDATE ENDORSEMENT PROCESS

Candidates for national office – from any party – that are identified as veterans, military family members, or veterans’-advocates are sent an inquiry as to their interest in endorsement by VMFP. We make every possible effort to contact all candidates for national office so that, if they respond, we can consider their responses. If they respond affirmatively, they are sent copies of our campaign and issues questionnaires. Upon return of the questionnaires, completed according to the instructions contained therein, the questionnaires are considered by the Government Affairs Committee to determine whether the candidate’s answers are satisfactorily in alignment with VMFP policy goals. When the committee determines that a candidate’s responses meet our criteria, a recommendation is made to the VMFP board to endorse that candidate. When the board approves, an endorsement letter and press release are sent to the candidate’s campaign.

In the 2014 Congressional Election, VMFP endorsed 5 candidates, 4 of whom won their election.

The candidates VMFP endorsed who were victorious were:

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D) was reelected in New Hampshire.  She is a vet Family Member. Her husband Bill is a Vietnam Era Vet

Senator Mark Warner (D) was reelected in Virginia. He is a vet Family Member.  His Father was WWII Marine Veteran of Pacific Theater.

Cheri Bustos (D) Illinois 17th CD.  She is a vet Family Member. Her Father was a WWII vet.

Seth Moulton (D) Massachusetts 6th CD.  Seth is n Iraq War Marine Veteran.

Endorsed but unsuccessful:

Fred Kundrata (D) 1st Ohio.  He is an Air Force Veteran who lost to incumbent Congressman Steve Chabot

Endorsed Legislation during 113th Congress

The following bills from the 113th Congress have been endorsed by VMFP:

 

  • HR 4276 Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Act of 2014
  • HR 3593 VA Construction Assistance Act of 2014
  • HR 5404 Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2014
  • HR 4399 Comprehensive Department of Veterans Affairs Performance Management and Accountability Reform Act of 2014
  • (HR 5059), (S 2930) Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act (Clay Hunt SAV Act)

Maddow, Duckworth, Rudolph win awards from Veterans and Military Families for Progress

ARLINGTON, VA– Rachel Maddow will be recognized Saturday with a Public Service Award for Excellence in Media Coverage and Reporting by Veterans and Military Families for Progress (VMFP). The award, presented for outstanding coverage of issues relating to veterans and military families, will be accepted by Maddow’s senior producer Eelin Reily at a banquet at the Sheraton National Hotel.  See video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XMK2EZ253s&feature=youtu.be

Iraq veteran Tammy Duckworth, formerly Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Veterans Affairs and currently a candidate for Congress from the new Illinois 8th District, will accept the Max Cleland Lifetime Achievement Award, and Bob Rudolph, President of VMFP-Washington State, will be given the Torchbearer Member Service Award.

Reservations for the banquet are still being accepted through the organization’s website, www.vmfp.org. The event is part of the organization’s biennial conference that begins Friday.

Maddow is host of MSNBC’s primetime hit, “The Rachel Maddow Show,” which features her take on the biggest stories of the day, political and otherwise, including lively debate with guests from all sides of the issues, in-depth analysis and stories no other shows in cable news will cover. Among other awards, the show, which debuted in September 2008, was named one of the top shows of the decade by the Washington Post in 2009.

“The Rachel Maddow Show” won the 2010 News and Documentary Emmy Award for her coverage from Afghanistan. Maddow was honored by the Interfaith Alliance with the 2010 Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom award, and her MSNBC documentary “The Assassination of Dr. Tiller” won a Gracie award in 2011.
She first gained national prominence as a host on Air America Radio, where she worked from its inception in 2004. Prior to joining AAR, she worked for WRNX in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and WRSI in Northampton, MA.

Maddow received a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Stanford University. She earned her doctorate in political science at Oxford University, which she attended on a Rhodes Scholarship. She lives in New York City and Massachusetts with her partner, artist Susan Mikula.

Eelin Reily, Senior Producer of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” began her career at 60 Minutes and has worked for MSNBC’s prime time programming for as long as there has been an MSNBC, including as an Emmy Award-winning producer for “The News with Brian Williams.” More recently, she spent six years writing and producing Keith Olbermann’s lead story every night. Her work covering the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq gained a new perspective with the death of her cousin, Marine Cpl. Seamus M. Davey, in Iraq, in October, 2005.

The Lifetime Achievement award, to be received by Duckworth, honors an individual who has worked throughout his or her life serving the active duty/military family/veteran community. The reward is named for former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, a recipient of the Silver and Bronze stars for valor in combat in the Vietnam War.

Duckworth, 27, is an Iraq War veteran, former Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and until recently, Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Veterans Affairs. She resigned her VA post in July to run for Congress. Duckworth served in Iraq as a US Army helicopter pilot.

Duckworth joined the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) in 1990. She became a commissioned officer in the US Army Reserve in 1992, went to flight school and has been a member of the Illinois Army National Guard since 1996. She is a graduate of the University of Hawaii with a bachelor degree in political science and of George Washington University with a master’s degree in international affairs.

Rudolph is being honored for his service to the organization as president of the Washington State branch since 2007 and a member of the state Veterans Legislative Coalition. One project he said he is especially proud of is the Washington State Veterans Innovations Program (VIP). Previously funded by the legislature, the program was cut because of budget issues. The VLC successfully pushed the state to hold a Hometown Heroes Raffle through the state lottery commission. Proceeds of the raffle, expected to be between $300,000 and $500,000, will go to fund programs and services for veterans.

Rudolph, who retired from the US Air Force, then worked for the Boeing Company, Military Programs, as liaison with the Air Force on the B1-B and B-2 Bomber programs.

# # #
MEDIA CONTACT: President Tom Howe, 563-588-2698

VMFP Conference Opens With Full Agenda

ARLINGTON, VA– A mix of Congressional visits, panels, job fair, and socializing will focus Veterans and Military Families for Progress on “Completing the Mission: Fulfilling our Nation’s Responsibilities to Those Who have Served and Sacrificed” at the organization’s conference Friday through Sunday at the Sheraton National Hotel, 900 South Orme St., Arlington, VA.  The conference is open to the general public.

Thomas Bandzul, Associate Counsel at Veterans For Common Sense,  will moderate a Veterans Employment panel made up of Brian Nichols, Manager, Warriors to Work, Wounded Warriors Project,; and Lisa J. Ford, Executive Assistant for the Helmets to Hardhats program.

Healthcare Needs, Issues and Solutions for the Veteran and Military Family Community, will be addressed by: Charlene Neiman, Director of Development for Crisis Link; Charles Eggleston, Iraq veteran, and Miranda Kruse, a Gold Star wife.

Needs of women veterans will be specifically considered by Kayla Williams, Linda Kruter, and Pamela Stokes Eggleston.  Williams is a former sergeant, Arabic linguist, and author of “Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army.”  Kruter is with VeteranCaregiver.com, and Stokes Eggleston is Development Director for Blue Star Families, Vice President and COO of Three Seven Consulting, Inc., and a grant reviewer for the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.

Among speakers on veterans’ education are: Michael Schindler, President of Operation Military Family, and Katherine Gale, Policy Associate with the Initiative for Military Families at America’s Promise Alliance.  Schindler is author of the book “Operation Military Family” and of “The Military Wire” blog.  Gale’s work for the Initiative focuses on state policies that affect service members, veterans, and their families, including k-12 and post-secondary education.

Organizations helping to underwrite convention costs include: The International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers; Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO, and National Resource Directory.

Veterans and Military Families for Progress is a 21st Century grassroots organization dedicated to ensuring that the rights and needs of veterans, military service members (including active-duty, Guard and Reserve) – and their families – are understood by the American public, endorsed by our elected officials, and protected by legislation, regulation, and public policy initiatives.

For more information, see the full schedule at the organization’s website, www.vmfp.net, or call President Tom Howe at 563-588-2698.

2011 National Conference

“Completing our Mission: Fulfilling our nation’s responsibilities to those who have served and sacrificed”   is the theme of the Oct. 21-23, 2011, Veterans and Military Families for Progress 2011 National Conference.  See  full program here

Conference Registration: Register here
Please register first for the conference; you will be returned to VMFP on completion.
Members $98 / Non Members $118 (after October 1 Members $118 / Non Members $128
Saturday programs only $25
(students free with ID).
Friday Reception and Saturday evening Banquet $60

Take part in our conference as a Co-convener – Find out more.

Hotel registrationVeterans & Military Families For Progress 
(there is no redirect back from this link to VMFP)

The conference, located at the Sheraton National Hotel, Arlington, VA, will focus on the specific roles of media, general public, and elected officials in dealing with “coming-home” issues. Each attendee can expect to gain specific ways to use information from the dynamic and informative national gathering to help complete the mission for veterans and military families. See  full program here

A favorite feature of the conference is the Friday visit to Congressmen to remind them of the needs of veterans and military families. Saturday is chock full of compelling panels on job creation, education possibilities for returning veterans, and physical and mental health issues. The evening banquet permits attendees to celebrate VMFP’s work, while Sunday prepares for the future with the election of leaders for the next two years.   See the full program here

The Max Cleland Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded this year to Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.

Conference Registration: Register here

Please register first for the conference; you will be returned to VMFP on completion.
Members $98 / Non Members $118 (after October 1 Members $118 / Non Members $128
Saturday programs only $25
 (students free with ID).
Friday Reception and Saturday evening Banquet $60

Take part in our conference as a Co-convener – Find out more.

Hotel registrationVeterans & Military Families For Progress 
(there is no redirect back from this link to VMFP)


Tammy Duckworth wins Lifetime Achievement Award From Veterans and Military Families for Progress

WASHINGTON, DC –Veterans and Military Families for Progress (VMFP) is happy to announce that Tammy Duckworth has been awarded the organization’s Max Cleland Lifetime Achievement Award. The award, to be presented at the organization’s biennial conference in Washington, D.C., Oct. 21-23, honors an individual who has worked throughout his or her life serving the active duty/military family/veteran community.

Duckworth, 27, is an Iraq War veteran, former director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and until recently, Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Veterans Affairs. She resigned her VA post last month, saying she plans to run for Congress from the new 8th Illinois District. Duckworth served in Iraq as a US Army helicopter pilot.

The reward is named for former U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, a recipient of the Silver and Bronze stars for valor in combat in the Vietnam War.

“The unwavering dedication that you demonstrated to your contemporary comrades during your own rehabilitative process and the invaluable work that you have done on behalf of those veterans who have served before you as well as the men and women who are now serving in our armed forces is both admirable and inspiring,” VMFP President Tom Howe and Executive Director Matt Cary told Duckworth.

“Your work in helping to found and fund the ‘Intrepid Foundation’ while still dealing with your own healing process is indicative of an unparalleled spirit of generosity, courage and commitment. The excellent programs you implemented as the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs greatly improved the lives of Illinois veterans particularly those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Howe and Cary also told her that, as an Assistant Secretary at the US Veterans Affairs Department, her personal commitment for the well-being of our nation’s 25 million military veterans was proudly recognized. “You worked to improve the delivery of healthcare and benefits and exhibited uncommon integrity in order to fulfill the sacred promise to our nation’s veterans that has significantly enhanced veterans’ lives; these actions are in keeping with VMFP’s mission,” they added.

Duckworth joined the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) in 1990. She became a commissioned officer in the US Army Reserve in 1992, went to flight school and has been a member of the Illinois Army National Guard since 1996. She is a graduate of the University of Hawaii with a bachelor degree in political science and of George Washington University with a master’s degree in international affairs.

Veterans and Military Families for Progress remains committed to the mission of ensuring that the rights and needs of veterans, active-duty service members and their families are understood by the American public, endorsed by our elected officials, and protected by legislation, regulation and public policy initiatives. VMFP is recognized among veteran advocate organizations by the V.A. and is made up of members from across the country, and across the breadth of rank and military services who served, are serving, or are members of families who have heeded the call to serve their country in the U.S. military.

VMFP Active in Washington State Through State Chapter

John Lee (left), director of Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, confers with Bob Rudolph and Mike Gregoire, husband of the Washington State governor.

VMFP works for veterans and military families on the state level as well as national.  A prime example is VMFP member Bob Rudolph, who is a president of the Washington State Chapter of VMFP and a member of the Washington State Veterans’ Legislative Coalition (VLC).

So far this year, Rudolph has testified on three bills being considered at the Statehouse, helped sponsor a luncheon for Washington legislators, and spoke at a Forum on Disability Issues.

One bill, HB 1080, would allow the Washington State National Guard and Reserve troops to be able to vote electronically by mail.  “That would ensure that more of our military members will get an opportunity to vote, especially those in more isolated areas,” Rudolph explained.

Another, HB 1615, would help the national guard, reserves, and their families by extending financial obligations and legal matters if they are suddenly called to active duty.

The third, SB 5806, authorizes a statewide raffle to benefit veterans and their families. Part of the Veterans Innovations Program (VIP), it would help with funding for a Defenders’ Fund Program and the Competitive Grant Program. The Defenders’ Fund Program allows recent veterans to receive a one-time financial hardship grant related to employment, education, housing, and health care. The Competitive Grant Program provides crisis and emergency relief and education, training, and employment assistance.

“This Senate bill is something that we at the VLC are very proud to have been a major factor in along with the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs,” Rudolph said.

The Forum on Disability Issues, a breakfast meeting, was put on jointly by the Veterans & Military Families Caucus and the Disabilities Issues Caucus of the Washington State Democrats. “It’s important to remember that [VMFP] support of veterans and their families is non-partisan,” Rudolph said. “It’s more important to work on the things that unite us, like veteran and family issues, and not the things that can divide us.”

Rudolph fielded questions about disabled veterans and about VMFP-Washington State Chapter. He said the conversation started off talking about our newest disabled veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and the horrendous physical and mental injuries they received and continued with a discussion about the care Vietnam veterans receive from the Veterans Administration. “It was an interesting conversation and we all learned a lot from each other,” Rudolph added.

Finally, Rudolph enjoys getting to “meet and greet” state legislators. “We work hard to get legislation passed,” and that includes getting to know what matters to each legislator. He said he and others on the VLC held their annual luncheon for the lawmakers on Jan. 7 in the State Capitol Legislative Bldg.

VMFP Executive Director Named to DC Veterans Post

Matthew Cary (at podium) has been named director of veterans’ affairs for the District of Columbia by Mayor Vincent C. Gray (right).

Washington D. C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray has selected Matthew (Matt) Cary as the Director of the District of Columbia Office of Veterans’ Affairs. Cary, a Vietnam veteran, is executive director and former president of Veterans and Military Families for Progress (VMFP). He will commence his new duties on April 11.

Cary has exhibited a limitless passion for military families and veterans, particularly related to issues faced during and after deployment, according to Tom Howe, VMFP president.

Howe added, “Matt is tireless in his efforts on behalf of veterans and their families in communicating their needs to the Executive and Congressional branches of the federal government, and to private and public groups throughout D.C.”

The current president expressed the organization’s pride and gratitude for the leadership Cary has provided since VMFP’s founding in 2005, and for his continued selfless service to benefit veterans and their families.

Cary was in the US Army Reserves from 1969-1975, serving in Company B 464th Engineer Unit USAR and the 354th Civil Affairs Unit.

A founding member of VMFP, he was the organization’s first elected president in 2005 and was re-elected in 2007.

He has also been the president of Cary & Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based Government Relations and International Marketing Consulting Firm since 1986. The firm represents state and local governments and non-profit organizations on policy, legislative and programmatic issues with the Congress and Federal Agencies.

Cary has over 39 years of experience in government relations and advocacy with the Federal government as the owner of a small business, and as a former employee of a New York Governor, seven city mayors, a trade association, and a U.S. congressman.

He holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from American University and a BA Degree from St. Bonaventure University.

He has authored two major policy documents to help veterans and their families with the “Coming Home Issues” and started his veterans advocacy as a volunteer for the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

Howe expressed his congratulations to Matt and his wife Dana, who live in Washington, DC., on this new chapter in their lives.

VMFP Releases Details for 2011 National Conference

Mark your calendar!

“Completing our Mission: Fulfilling our nation’s responsibilities to those who have served and sacrificed” is the theme of the Oct. 20-23, 2011, Veterans and Military Families for Progress 2011 National Conference.

The conference, located at the Sheraton National Hotel, Arlington, VA, will focus on the specific roles of media, general public, and elected officials in dealing with “coming-home” issues.  Each attendee can expect to gain specific ways to use information from the dynamic and informative national gathering  to help complete the mission for veterans and military families.

If, as returning generals report, some 94 to 96 percent of the American people do not know what issues face veterans and military families, the media has a vital role in alerting the public.  Once the public is aware of the issues, activists can mobilize and communicate their concerns to their elected officials.  At that point, the officials must work to find solutions and funding, especially as early attention to problems can prevent greater difficulties and government costs down the road.

Conference organizers are identifying speakers and seeking funding for this biennial event.  Updates will be posted as plans evolve.

VMFP Joins Lawsuit

UPDATED POST : VMFP withdraws from Lawsuit

ORIGINAL POST : Veterans and Military Families for Progress (VMFP) has agreed to serve as the organizational plaintiff in an action being brought against Prudential Insurance Company of America and Prudential Financial. Inc. due to the company’s handling of life insurance proceeds for fallen military service members and veterans. The law firm of Scott+Scott LLP filed the complaint in United States District Court, District of New Jersey.

“This case arises out of the predatory and unconscionable insurance practices Prudential uses to misappropriate hundreds of millions of dollars worth of life insurance proceeds that are properly due to the beneficiaries of fallen military service members and veterans,” states the preliminary statement in the filing.

This action seeks disgorgement of Prudential’s ill-gotten gains, restitution, damages, treble damages, exemplary damages, attorneys’ fees, costs and declaratory and injunctive relief against Prudential.

Securities Class Action Services 50 has ranked Scott+Scott LLP one of the top 20 plaintiff’s law firms in the United States. The firm is based in Colchester, CT, with additional offices in California, New York, and Ohio.

VMFP is an organization dedicated to ensuring that the rights and needs of veterans, active-duty service members and their families are understood by the American public, endorsed by our elected officials, and protected by legislation, regulation, and public policy initiatives.