Thursday, July 28, 2011



It was my honor to have recently been elected DAV Legislative Director for the Department of Wisconsin at the 2011 DAV State Convention.  My goal as Legislative Director will be to advocate for legislation, at both the federal and state level, that will build better lives for disabled veterans and their families.

Disabled American Veterans was founded in 1920 and congressionally chartered in 1932.  Our congressional charter states DAV represents all of our nation’s disabled veterans, even those who are not members.  

The founding principle for DAV is that this nation’s first duty to veterans is the rehabilitation and welfare of its wartime disabled.  This founding principle, as stated in Resolution 001 in the 2011 DAV Legislative Program, envisions:
  1. High quality hospital and medical care be provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans with disabilities incurred in or aggravated by service in America’s armed forces.
  2. Adequate compensation for the loss resulting from such service-connected disabilities.
  3. Vocational rehabilitation and/or education to help disabled veterans prepare for and obtain gainful employment.
  4. Enhanced opportunities for employment and preferential job placement so that the remaining ability of disabled veterans is used productively.
  5. Adequate compensation for the surviving spouses and dependents of veterans whose death are held to be service-connected under law by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  6. Enhanced outreach to ensure that all disabled veterans receive all benefits they have earned and that the American people understand and respect the needs these veterans encounter as a result of their disabilities.
Our first duty as an organization will always be to assist service-connected disabled veterans, their surviving spouses and dependents.  Only such legislation that espouses the DAV founding principle will be advocated.  We do not represent active duty personnel, military retirees, etc.  We only represent disabled veterans and their families.

Department members, who are interested, will be e-mailed the DAV Legislative Bulletin.  Distributed bi-monthly, the Bulletin tells about pending bills in Congress and enacted legislation that is important to America’s disabled veterans and their families.  It also reaches out to members for any action that might be required to support the DAV legislative activities.   

To know the DAV position on congressional legislation that deals with veterans issues, members may go to www.capwiz.com/dav/issues/bills. Some of the listed legislation we may support; some we may oppose while other legislation we will take no position on, due to our founding principle.  DAV neither supports nor opposes this legislation.

On the state level, our main goal will be the increased hiring and employment for disabled veterans in the private sector and in all government agencies at the state, county and local levels.  Preliminary meetings have already been held at the Department of Workforce Development and at the Governor’s Office with the idea of bringing this goal to fruition.  

Our goal on the national level will be – “Don’t balance the budget on the backs of America’s disabled veterans.”  The upcoming year should be challenging, given the emphasis on reducing government spending and debt reduction.  Your help and support will be essential in seeing the rights and benefits earned by disabled veterans in the service of our great country will be properly funded and implemented.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.

Al Labelle
Legislative Director
Disabled American Veterans
Department of Wisconsin         

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