Thursday, June 23, 2011

Legislative Director’s Public Comments to WDVA Board

Public Comments made to Board of Veterans Affairs

Friday, June 17, 2011

By Al Labelle, Legislative Director

Disabled American Veterans - Department of Wisconsin

Good Morning, Chairman Naylor, Board members, particularly the new members, thank you all for your service.

I’m Al Labelle, newly elected Legislative Director of the Disabled American Veterans, Department of Wisconsin.

I would like to take this opportunity to briefly discuss 4 topics.

1. Disabled American Veterans, Department of Wisconsin has no official position on the WDVA Secretary appointment by the Governor. We neither support nor oppose any candidate at this time.

2. Last meeting, I spoke briefly about potential action by the House Budget Committee in Washington that would have had a negative impact on VA Health Care.

From direct knowledge, the House Budget Committee staff first mentioned in March, they were considering a review of the 1996 law that opened up VA Health Care to all veterans.

They later mentioned the possibility of eliminating Priority 7 and 8 categories from VA Health Care. This in actuality would have removed 1.3 million veterans from VA Health Care.

On May 25th, the House Budget Committee staff publicly announced they had no plans or pending action to eliminate Priority 7 and 8 from VA Health Care.

These ideas were repulsed thanks to the grassroots efforts of veterans groups, veterans, their families and friends, and concerned citizens. Thanks to all who contacted their Representatives. Without your grassroots efforts, this would not have happened.

3. Thank you to Chairman Naylor and new Board member John Townsend for attending yesterday’s Council on Veterans Programs meeting. It is greatly appreciated by DAV, Department of Wisconsin.

4. The continuing goal of DAV, Department of Wisconsin, starting in July, will be increasing employment and hiring of veterans & disabled veterans at WDVA and all government agencies.

We expect the 2010 employment figures at WDVA to be delivered to DAV, Department of Wisconsin, in an expeditious manner. Thank you to WDVA for their anticipated cooperation.

We look forward to working with the Board, WDVA, the Governor’s Office, and legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle to see that this goal is attained.

Thank you for this opportunity to give this update and to state our goal.

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