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July 31, 2019

MACVSO In Action 30 July 2019

On Tuesday, July 30, representatives from U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office held a series of discussions alongside the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA), Minnesota County Veteran Service Officers (MACVSO), and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) in Northwest Minnesota to highlight the earned benefits available to Veterans and to offer assistance on benefit applications. Klobuchar’s staff hosted these discussions in Dilworth, Ada, and Mahnomen. Members of the public, particularly Veterans and those caring for Veterans, were invited to join.

Ben Johnson, Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs Legislative Director briefed about Minnesota’s 91st legislative session that produced new laws to keep MDVA funded, special funding for the Armed Forces Service Center at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport, special days to recognize the sacrifices of America’s POW/MIAs, Veteran Suicide Awareness, American Allies, and Hmong Special Guerrilla Units Remembrance Day. He also talked briefly about the new law that will allow a Veterans widow/er who is entitled to a Homestead Property Tax Exclusion to keep that benefit for life.

A representative of the North West MN Career Force discussed strategies for Veterans who are seeking employment with their resume and interview preparation services, and the State’s efforts to link employers with skilled Veterans in the work force.

MACVSO President Greg Peterson and Vice President Martin Howes related ways for the Veterans and their family members to connect with their local County Veterans Service Officer and encouraged all Veterans and especially those who served in the Blue Waters off the coast of Vietnam and Cambodia to seek the benefits to which they are entitled. Mr. Howes also described recent efforts when six Minnesota CVSOs traveled to Fort Hood, Texas to greet over 600 returning soldiers of the 34th Infantry Division, known as the “Red Bulls” and to help them understand the processes to receive VA health care, education, and disability compensation.

Senator Klobuchar’s Staff emphasized the Senator’s efforts to modernize G.I. Bill benefits for our troops, strengthen funding for veterans’ health care and improve mental health care for our nation’s soldiers. She has also authored bipartisan bills on behalf of our nation’s veterans and their families to expand job training and employment opportunities, cut red tape and wait times for veterans scheduling appointments at VA Medical Facilities, and reduce veterans’ homelessness.

In January, Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the bipartisan Veterans Access to Care Act, which would help improve veterans’ medical facilities by allowing facilities with a need for additional health care professionals to apply to be designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Once designated, these facilities would have access to the National Health Service Corps, which provides service-obligated scholarships and loan forgiveness to health professional students who pledge to practice in a HPSA for at least two years.