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2017 Veterans Agenda Results

December 11, 2017 by Office of Senator Steve Waugh | Filed under News.

The Need

If you ask most of Maryland’s 430,000 veterans they’d say Maryland needs to be more veteran friendly.  “Veteran Friendly” means different things to different people.  There are hundreds of veteran groups across the country and they all have their top priority.  But the veteran community in Maryland has never spoken in a single voice.  What we need is a Veteran’s Agenda for Maryland.  We had to find the veteran groups, draft a starting list of issues, categorize them, and figure out what’s already in law.

So What are We Doing About it?

On November 7th, the Maryland General Assembly Veterans Caucus invited 150 veteran groups to the First Veterans Summit.  Held in Annapolis over 50 veterans service organizations showed up to be the voice of their veteran community.  Prior to the Summit, our team reviewed every veteran bill passed in every one of the other 49 states during 2016 and distilled down the list to 135 distinct ideas.  From there five work groups were created: Health, Education, Jobs, Taxes, and Personal Matters.  Summit participants were separated into these work groups and spent the day identifying the top issues in each area. Work groups used the other states issues as a starting point from which to add or subtract from, then prioritize.  Each issue was considered for impact on every member of the veteran family, including National Guard, Reserve, Active Duty, spouses, children, disabled, senior, retired and the honorably discharged.

The Result

The final result is a Veterans Agenda for Maryland – about 35 issues including suicide prevention, transition assistance, retraining, local resource centers and tax exemptions.  The veteran community finally spoke with one voice to the legislature.
Legislators are genuinely excited about this in Annapolis, and on Tuesday, December 5th I presented the agenda to state legislators nationwide.  If we’re lucky, dozens of other legislators will use it to file bills with people they don’t often work with, across party lines and between the House and Senate – in many states.

Going Forward

My hope is the Veterans Agenda will form the core of the Maryland Veterans Caucus mission for years to come, and make Maryland the most Veteran Friendly state in the Union.  I want to give our Veterans a strong voice in Maryland.

Semper Fidelis,

Steve Waugh
Senator, St. Mary’s & Calvert Counties
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Senator Steve Waugh
2W Miller Senate Office Building, 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 410-841-3673 | 301-858-3673 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3673
Authorized by Friends of Steve Waugh, Paul Croisetiere, Treasurer, P.O. Box 1805, California, MD 20619

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