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VMFP endorses seven additional House Bills and one Bill from the Senate

  • HR 675  Veterans Compensation Cost of Living Adjustment Act of 2015
    Sent to Congress for Consideration May 21, 2015
  • HR 677  American Heroes COLA Act of 2015
    Referred to Committee
  • HR 732  Veterans Access to Speedy Review Act of 2015
    Assigned to Congressional Committee
  • HR 1414   Pay as You Rate Act
    Assigned to Congressional Committee
  • HR 1569 To Amend Title 38 of US Code to Clarify that the Estate of Deceased Veterans May Receive  Certain Accrued  Benefits (PRIORITY)
    Assigned to Congressional Committee
  • HR 1607  Ruth Moore Act of 2015
    Assigned to Congressional Committee
  • HR 2214 To improve The Authority of Secretary of VA to Enter into Contracts with Private Physicians to Conduct Medical Disability Exams
    Assigned to Congressional Committee
  • S 841 Prioritizing Veterans Access to Mental Health Care Act
    Assigned to Congressional Committee

VMFP announces endorsement of HR 1603 and HR 501

VMFP announces endorsement of HR 1603 and HR 501

In April 2015, Veterans and Military Families Board of Directors voted to endorse two bills:

HR 1603 Military Sexual Assault Victims Empowerment Act or the Military SAVE Act

This bill amends the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 to make a a veteran who was the victim of a sexual trauma which occurred while the veteran was serving on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training eligible for treatment in a non-Department of Veterans Affairs entity.

Introduced in March 2015, the bill has now been referred to Subcommittee on Health.

H.R.501Veterans and Servicemembers Employment Rights and Housing Act of 2015

Prohibits employment practices that discriminate based on an individual’s military service and amends the Fair Housing Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 to prohibit housing discrimination against members of the uniformed services.

Introduced in January 2015.  On April 29, 2015 the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections

Click the links above for more details on these bills and stay tuned for updates.

Follow through on commitment to prevent Veteran Suicides

Follow through on commitment to prevent Veteran Suicides

Joshua Omvig served an 11-month tour in Iraq. The 22-year-old returned home to Grundy Center, Iowa with no visible injuries, yet he died on Dec. 22, 2005, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His parents, Ellen and Randy Omvig, dedicated a significant part of their lives to get national action so that their experience would not happen in other American military families.
A law named after their son, The Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, became law on November 5, 2007 (Public Law 110-110). However, the bill was never fully implemented. At the time Public Law 110-110 was signed, there were 18 veteran suicides daily.
Yesterday (Feb. 12, 2015) in Washington, DC, President Obama signed into law another bill, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. An unfunded law, it intends to do what the Omvig Act had been intended to do. In the interim between the passage of the two laws, the average daily number of suicides climbed to 22 veterans plus one active-duty service member.
The new Clay Hunt law, named for a Marine combat-veteran sniper who committed suicide in 2011, directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to require annual mental-health evaluations and suicide prevention programs. It also requires a loan repayment program for psychiatrists who agree to serve in the Veterans Health Administration.
Hunt, a Marine from Texas who served in Anbar Province in 2007 and 2008, was treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at various Veterans Administration hospitals, but he was frustrated by delays, the lack of effective treatment, and difficulty with his disability compensation. Even so, before ending his life, he worked with other fellow veterans who were having difficulty fitting back into civilian life because of PTSD issues.
At issue now is monitoring of the Omvig-Hunt laws. Who will inform America of actual efforts to reduce or to eliminate suicide in military families? Who will report on the lack of real or effective effort to deal with suicide of those who serve in America’s military?
Veterans and Military Families for Progress, a national nonprofit group, followed the Omvig family’s lead and helped monitor the bill through Congress. Tom Howe, an Iowa VMFP member, was privileged to visit with and learn from Ellen and Randy Omvig in their living room.
Now, Howe asks, why, more than seven years after passage of the bill, is America experiencing an increased rate of suicide among its veterans? Why is Congress passing another law to deal with veteran suicides? How many Americans even know the Omvig law’s story of failure? How many know of a lack of follow-up by Congress, the Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, and the Media? How many Americans assume appropriate care for Americas’ veterans is the existing reality?

The Joshua Omvig and Clay Hunt stories of suicide represent so many other veteran suicide stories. All of those stories deserve more respect, Howe believes.

America is in this place, Howe contends, because of the “disconnect” between the reality of the lives of average Americans and the lives of America’s military families. Who will help educate the reality of the “disconnect”? Who will help eliminate the “disconnect” and begin to educate about and advocate for the necessary, real, bottom-up solutions which military families need and have earned by their service to America?

For further information or follow up:

Tom Howe, (563.451.9919 cell)
Chair, Media/Public Relations Committee
Veterans and Military Families for Progress

Ronald Scott (414-559-8040)
President
Veterans and Military Families for Progress

Matthew Cary (202-841-1687)
Executive Director
Veterans and Military Families for Progress

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)

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

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.

# # #
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)