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Wiger: Supporting Our Veterans is Critical to the Economy

Sen. Chuck Wiger talks about issues with veterans' unemployment.

Throughout the United States’ history, service men and women have risked their lives for us. Be it in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam or any other country, our veterans have served with distinction. We honor their time in the service, but we need to do more for our vets when they come home.

In Minnesota, veteran’s unemployment is above 20 percent. This is totally unacceptable. Veterans who served patriotically, voluntarily putting themselves in harms way, have come home and said, now I’d like to serve in the workforce. We must provide them with opportunities to use their skills and talent.

Many vets have been hired, but too many are still unemployed. We need to invest in the programs already offered at the state and federal levels. Governor Dayton has proposed numerous increases to veterans programs here in Minnesota.

  • $1 million to expand the Minnesota GI Bill
  • $1 million for County Veteran Service Office Grants
  • $400,000 for Honor Guards
  • $200,000 for the Gold Star Program
  • $425,000 for new state veterans cemetery in Fillmore County
  • $5 million for health care IT improvement

I commend those efforts, but the fact is, we still have a lot more to do. Until we see each vet wanting and able to work employed, our mission is not accomplished.

Our bipartisan legislation is designed to provide an additional tool and incentive to hire vets. We need to send a strong message to our veterans that we value your service. We want you to work in Minnesota.

It is a win-win for Minnesota. Veterans provide Minnesota businesses with talented, disciplined workers. The businesses, with skilled workers, are able to grow and expand the business, creating more jobs and more growth in Minnesota. 

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “What our servicemen and women want, more than anything else, is the assurance of satisfactory employment upon their return to civil life. The first task after the war is to provide employment for them and for our demobilized workers .... The goal after the war should be the maximum utilization of our human and material resources." 

As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions regarding any issue. Please visit my Senate website at senate.mn/senatorwiger. I also encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment.  Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?,” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16. I can be reached by email at sen.chuck.wiger@senat.mn and by phone at 651-296-6820. 

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