Minnesota needs to stand by vets

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Minnesota has a national reputation as a veteran-friendly state, and our programs to bring our veterans home and ensure that they and their families prosper is second to none.

Recently we heard Gov. Mark Dayton and the leadership of both houses say that they supported legislation this session that would hold veterans’ program harmless. This was indeed good news in a tough budget year.

However, in recent days, plans have surfaced in the Minnesota Legislature that would cut veterans’ programs and reduce staff at the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. This is both perplexing and disheartening.

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The Minnesota American Legion stands firm in its total support for maintaining spending for the MDVA, continuing the extremely valuable campus rep program at our state colleges and universities, and maintaining the two deputy commissioners at the MDVA — each of whom has a critical role to play in supporting veterans’ programs.

Some would ask why veterans’ programs should be held harmless during difficult economic times. It’s a tough question. But the answer is simple. As long as we are going to send our young Minnesotans overseas to be in harm’s way, we must never waver in our commitment to ensure that when they come home they have every opportunity to succeed in the society they fought to protect.

Tom Lannon

state commander

Minnesota American Legion

Prior Lake