Friday, February 8, 2013

It's National Guard Day at the state capitol today

Each year, the legislature honors the men and women of our state's National Guard with a resolution in both the House and Senate.  Today is that day, and members of our Guard can be spotted around the capitol campus in uniform today.

The newly-reappointed Adjutant General of the Washington State National Guard, Major General Bret Daugherty, is also on campus, and paid a visit to the House Democratic Caucus this morning.

Maj. Gen. Daugherty took over the position last summer from Maj. Gen. Timothy Lowenberg, who retired after serving for 13 years as our state's adjutant general.

While National Guard Day is a special celebration each year in the legislature, House Democrats are also striving to make sure that every day our state's servicemen and women have opportunities to succeed in education and in the transition to civilian life and employment.  Several higher education-related proposals are working their way through the House, including House Bill 1428, sponsored by Rep. Dave Upthegrove.

Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty
This bill would dedicate a portion of state lottery money to the Veterans Innovations Program (VIP), which was created by the legislature in 2006 to provide flexible small grants to individual veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. The program struggles every year for funding and is set to expire in a few years.

Additionally, there are many veterans in our state who are trying to complete their education amid ever-rising tuition costs.  The federal G.I. bill provides educational benefits, but those benefits are based on the time of service a veteran has honorably completed.  This leaves out veterans who have also served honorably, but for less than the time required for full educational funding.

Under Rep. Upthegrove's proposal, the VIP would become permanent, have a steady source of funding, and a portion of those funds would be dedicated to help veterans attending community college.

Read this story in Spanish.