Michigan Legion Update - Feb 2nd, 2012

Welcome to the Michigan Legion Update
For the week of Jan 30th 2012
On Tuesday Jan 31st in a Lansing a joint committee meeting was held in the Capitol building.
Members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military and Veterans Affairs
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State Police and Military Affairs
and the Senate Standing Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Home land Security
Michigan National Guard Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais testified to the Joint Committee it will take a combination of federal and state programs, along with the help of veterans' service organizations, to put the growing number of servicemen and women to work after they leave active or reserve duty.
At 30 percent, Michigan's jobless veterans rate is the highest in the nation - nearly double the national rate of 16 percent.
"We gotta fix this," Vadnais said. "As I move around the state, I'm constantly engaged by industries and people who want to step up to the plate and help, but I'm also getting, 'We have jobs but can't find qualified people to fill them.' The governor talks about 68,000 jobs out there in Michigan right now. We gotta get qualified people in there."
Announced last week The National Veterans Small Business Conference will be held June 25th thru 29th at Cobo Center in Detroit.

Michigan Legions Legislative Chairman Doug Williams testified on the funding to our Veteran Service Offices and staff, how the lack of funding cuts in to service to our veterans, more of work for the remaining service officers.  Chairman Williams also highlighted that the VA Regional office in Detroit was 32,000 claim behind. One of the main sources of delay in getting benefits to our veterans.

The committees are looking for ways they can help move the State of Michigan from 53rd in the country for Gross Domestic Expenditure of Veteran Benefits and spending.

Michigan also ranks 50 out of 50 in terms of Department of Defense spending as well.  The spending reduction the DOD has to make has targeting the A-10 squadron’s in Michigan to be shut down.  If these cuts stand that will mean 1300 jobs lost and a economic impact of $52 million dollars to the State.

The Michigan Legion Legislative team has also met with Senator Moolenaar earlier in January and on Wednesday we spoke with the Speaker of the House Jase Bolger. Outlining many of the issues veterans face in the state and the obstacles brought on by funding cuts on both the State and Federal levels.

On February 8th at 5 pm the Commanders Group of Michigan, a group made up of 11 Congressionally chartered veteran organizations, will be hosting a Legislative reception for all Representatives and Senators at the Lansing Center.  Legionnaires from all over the state are encouraged to come to the reception to meet with your elected officials and make them aware of the problems facing Michigan Veterans.

If you have not already done so be sure to register for the Michigan Legion Winter Meeting being held at the Holiday Inn Gateway in Flint Michigan.  The National Commander Fang Wong will be our guest through out the weekend.  Tickets for the Friday night banquet are still available, visit www.michiganlegion.org and click the FYI button for registration and ticket information forms.

Thank you for listening to the Michigan Legion Update.

The American Legion Department of Michigan represents over 70,000 members in the State of Michigan. The American Legion was founded in 1919, based on “The Four Pillars”; veteran rehabilitation, Americanism, child welfare, and national security and continued above all its mission as a consumers’ advocate for veterans. For more information contact the Michigan Legion at 517-371-4720 ext 16, mark@michiganlegion.org, or visit our website at www.michiganlegion.org.


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