To the editor:
I recently had the honor of attending the christening of the USS Minneapolis-St. Paul. It was an opportunity to reflect on the brave men and women who serve to protect our freedom. We are indebted to our veterans, and I believe we can and should do more by improving the quality of life for many of our neighbors who have served our nation. There are real problems facing our veterans, and during the 2019 legislative session, we took action.
I was pleased that Minnesota showed the country how a state can govern on a bipartisan basis to help veterans. Our most significant accomplishment was fully funding the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs and the Department of Veterans Affairs. This ensures Minnesota’s five state veterans’ homes, the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans, Honor Guards, the Gold Star Program, County Veterans Service Offices, state veterans cemeteries, and the Minnesota GI Bill all receive the funding they need to effectively serve our veterans.
Beyond helping those who return physically disabled, we need to do more to support the men and women who have already given so much to this country. I co-sponsored legislation providing alternative sentencing options for veterans with service-connected trauma, substance abuse, or mental health conditions who commit certain crimes falling below a severity level. Although this measure did not advance, I’ll keep working to ensure it’s considered in the future.
Wishing you a safe and happy Fourth of July.
Rep. John Huot