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U.S. Representatives announce bipartisan Veterans Congressional Caucus Fellowship Program

April 10, 2014

U.S. Representatives announce bipartisan Veterans Congressional Caucus Fellowship Program

Veterans and Military Families for Progress fully supports the Veterans Fellowship Program established by the House of Representatives Veterans Congressional Fellowship Caucus this week.  The mission of the Caucus is to increase the number of veterans working on Capitol Hill.

Mike Michaud (D-ME-2) said “I joined my colleagues Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA-5), Don Young (R-AK), and Bill Enyart (D-IL-12) a little while ago to announce the formation of the Veterans Congressional Fellowship Caucus. This new program will help more veterans find work on Capitol Hill. We’ll benefit from having more veterans in the halls of Congress, and I know this program will ensure more of the honorable men and women who have given much to our country can continue public service.

Michaud states, “Our veterans make incredible sacrifices for our country, and we have a responsibility to do everything we can to help these honorable men and women transition into the civilian workforce,”

As U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA-5) put it “Our veterans are some of the most skilled workers our country has to offer.  They are leaders who have been tested under pressure and will be tremendous assets to Congressional offices.”

Based on a recent survey Hillvets projected that, out of 6,060 staff jobs in Congressional offices, only 178 are veterans.  Congressman Young said “When I first took the oath of office in 1973, nearly three-fourths of Congress—both House and Senate—was made up of veterans; now it’s barely 20%…I am proud to help found this new veteran fellowship program…and hope it encourages our nation’s veterans to become more actively involved in our political system.”

VMFP is working with the House and Senate to draft legislation qualifying this program under the GI Bill for the 21st Century and allowing participants to earn scholastic credit and collect a stipend during the course of this program.  We will also be working with Student Veterans of America to help promote this cause and lead the way for veterans to get good paying jobs in government.

VMFP vigorously endorses the Veterans Fellowship Program and enthusiastically encourages veterans to participate. Veterans accepted for this program will be hands on participants in the legislative process, gaining valuable experience for a future in government and private sector employment. This program is win – win – win for veterans, military families, and the country.

Below is the link to begin the application process.  We want to encourage all veterans or active duty servicepersons interested in being a part of the government process to apply as soon as possible. The program will accept participants this summer.

http://mikethompson.house.gov/constituent-services/veterans-fellowship-program

2013 National VMFP Conference

 Membership/Business meeting to be held via conference call @ 12 noon EST on Saturday, Dec 28, 2013.

 Call-in number: 712 432-0140, Access Code: 653513#

Business will consist of election of officers for the next biennium, and any proposed by-laws changes. (1)

There will be a round-table discussion and/or Q&A session following the membership meeting.  Discussion may include the future direction of VMFP and how we might better implement the three main elements of our Mission Statement (2), notably education.  This portion of the meeting is open to all who are interested in VMFP’s Mission (2).

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(1)  Only current paid members are eligible to vote and/or run for an elected position.

To join VMFP or renew your membership see  http://www.vmfp.org/membership-2/.  You may pay online via credit card,  or print the membership form and send to:

Veterans and Military Families for Progress, PO Box 66353, Washington DC 20035

Mission Statement and Statement of Purpose

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.

Veterans and Military Families for Progress is organized primarily to:

  • Advocate for progressive legislation and initiatives on behalf of veterans, military service members and their families
  • Endorse candidates for national office who pledge to support veterans, military service members and their families.
  • Educate the media and the public-at-large as to the rights and needs of veterans, military service members and their families.
  • Develop programs to reach out to veterans, military service members and their families that reflect their needs and concerns.

VMFP endorses Ed Markey

Washington, DC:

Veterans and Military Families for Progress endorses Congressman Edward Markey in the Massachusetts Special Election for the United States Senate.

 

Veterans and Military Families for Progress (www.vmfp.org) enthusiastically and proudly endorses Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey in the upcoming special election for the United States Senate.

Markey is a strong supporter of our nation’s veterans and active armed forces.  While serving in Congress Mr. Markey has clearly demonstrated his determination to work on behalf of our nation’s veterans.  Congressman Markey’s strong commitment to the issues that are critical to veterans, those serving now, and their families is unsurpassed.  His public support for priority funding of the Veterans Administration and his declared determination to provide for the establishment of a national veterans and military family policy give all veterans and their families, especially those in Massachusetts hope that they will continue to have a United States Senator who will vote in such a way as to keep faith with those who have served and sacrificed. His decision to support legislation for improving the treatment of veterans with traumatic brain injuries and PTSD and his deep understanding of the need for providing and guaranteeing full health coverage for National Guard and Reserve personnel demonstrate that he is a candidate who has the character and courage and personal experience to do what is right for those in service to our country

 

Congressman Markey served in the Army Reserve and has a deep and personal understanding of the issues veterans and their families confront.  Markey believes “we have a sacred obligation to honor and care for our servicemen and women for their bravery and sacrifice.”  He is committed to working in the Senate to challenge the private sector to hire and train unemployed veterans or their spouses and expand tax credits for hiring veterans looking for work.  “On the battlefield,” he says, “the military pledges to leave no soldier behind.  In the Senate, I will work to ensure that when warriors return home, we leave no veteran behind.”

 

VMFP feels that veterans, active duty, military families, and in fact, all people of Massachusetts will be well-served with Congresswoman Markey’s election to the US Senate and thus ensuring that America remains strong in national defense and in fighting terrorism.

 

Veterans and Military Families for Progress is a 501(c)(4) non-partisan, not-for-profit veterans organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.  It is a 21st Century organization made up of members located throughout the country, and from across the breadth of rank and military services, who served, are serving, or are family members of those who have heeded the call to serve their country in the U.S. military.

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VMFP 2012 Election results

VMFP 2012 Election results

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 two campaign 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.

The following candidates were endorsed for the November 2012 elections
Red indicates successful election result
Candidate State CD Party VMFP Classification
President
Obama, Barack     D Military Family
House
Kirkpatrick, Ann AZ 1 D Advocate    
Sinema, Kyrsten AZ 9 D Advocate    
McNerney, JerryCA CA 13 D Military Family
Lee, Otto CA 22 D Veteran
Chen, Jay CA 39 D Veteran
Esty, Elizabeth CT 5 D Military Family    
Murphy, Patrick FL 18 D Military Family
Beaven, Heather FL 6 D Veteran
Gabbard, Tulsi HI 2 D Veteran    
Braley, Bruce IA 1 D Military Family
Vilsack, Christi IA 4 Military Family
Enyart, William IL 12 D Veteran
Anderson, Dennis IL 14 D Advocate
Duckworth, Tammy IL 8 D Veteran
Mullen,Brendan IN 2 D Veteran
Tsongas, Niki MA 5 D Military Family    
Tierney, John MA 6 D Military Family    
Edwards, Donna MD 4 D Military Family    
Delaney, John MD 6 D Advocate    
Michaud, Michael ME 2 D Advocate    
Peters, Gary MI 14 D Military Family    
Walz, Tim MN 1 D Veteran    
Graves, Jim MN 6 D Military Family
Gulleson, Pam ND G D Advocate
Shea-Porter, Carol NH 1 D Military Family    
Kuster,Ann NH 2 D Military Family  
Arnold-Jones, Janice NM 1 R Military Family
Horsford, Steven NV 4 D Advocate    
Titus, Dina NV 1 D Advocate    
Owens, Bill NY 21 D Veteran    
Maffei, Dan NY 25 D Military Family  
Hocul, Kathy NY 27 D Advocate
Critz, Mark PA 12 D Military Family
Maggi, Larry PA 18 D Military Family
Eaton, Missa PA 3 D Military Family
Cook, Adam VA 1 D Veteran
Powell, Wayne VA 7 D Veteran
Kilmer, Derek WA 6 D Advocate  
Senate
Carmona, Richard AZ D Veteran
Murphy, Chris CT   D Advocate    
Hirono, Mazie HI   D Advocate    
Donnelly, Joe IN   D Advocate    
Warren, Elizabeth MA   D Military Family    
Stabenow, Debbie MI   D Advocate    
Jon Tester MT   D Advocate    
Heinrich, Martin NM   D Advocate    
Kaine, Tim VA   D Military Family

 

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.

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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 withdraws from Lawsuit

After careful consideration, Veterans and Military Families for Progress (VMFP) will not be a named party in the new Complaint (the Consolidated Amended Complaint) that has been filed against Prudential Insurance Company in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts.

The case, entitled In re Prudential Insurance Company of America SGLI/VGLI Contract Litigation, Master Case No. 3:11-md-02208-MAP (D. Mass.), was filed on April 18 in the U.S. District Court.

“Our interest remains as keen as ever in seeing that Prudential’s unlawful and reprehensible practices are enjoined and that anyone subjected to those practices is properly compensated,” said Tom Howe, VMFP president.

On May 5, 2011 Judge Ponsor of the United States District Court in Massachusetts sustained all claims in the case of Lucey v. Prudential Insurance Company of America, and denied Prudential’s motion to dismiss in all regards.

In light of this development, the VMFP Board of Directors believes the organization’s participation as a named plaintiff in the consolidated case is not necessary at this time in order to successfully prosecute this matter and obtain relief for the class.

“We intend to continue to follow this important case closely and keep  our members apprised of significant developments,” Howe added.

If you have any questions, please contact Tom Howe at Veterans and Military Families for  Progress,  PO  Box  66353,  Washington,  DC  20035,  or   president@vmfp.org,  or  call

563.451.9919 (cel).

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.