Rep. Peterson's Newsletter 11/7/2014

Nov 7, 2014 Issues: Veterans

Dear Friends,

On November 11, I join Americans across the country to honor the dedication and sacrifice of our veterans and their families. Our veterans are continuing to return from service with pressing needs and I am committed to making sure they have timely access to the benefits they have earned.

Recent failings by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have exposed the challenges veterans can face when seeking care. While Congress has taken steps to address these issues, more can and should be done. I will continue to fight for meaningful and thoughtful reforms for all our veterans.

In recent years the number of women veterans has grown. Today, women constitute approximately 20 percent of new recruits and almost 280,000 women have served in the military since 9/11. I recently visited the Fargo VA hospital for a VA Women Veterans Appreciation Day event where I had the opportunity to hear first-hand from these brave women about the unique challenges they face when returning to civilian life. It is important that as this demographic grows Congress provide the Veterans Administration with the necessary tools to address care for women veterans.


Staff Sergeant Nichoel Lorenz and Sergeant Kristina Wolbeck (MOORHEAD)

Just as our troops vow to leave no one behind on the battlefield, it is our responsibility to leave no veteran behind when they come home. I will continue my work in Congress to serve our veterans as they have served us, making sure they have the support they need whether it is seeking health care, employment or housing assistance.

Our nation’s veterans have done everything asked of them with courage and excellence. I honor their service and thank all who serve.

Sincerely,

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Congressman Collin C. Peterson
Minnesota 7th District

Perham Veterans Day

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ITOW Museum, Perham

On November 11th, the City of Perham will honor veterans and their families with free meals, VFW Color Guard-led tours of the In Their Own Words (ITOW) Veteran Museum, and Patriotic Tributes by the Perham Junior High School Choir. Tours begin at 11:00 am, with a free breakfast for veterans and their families at the Perham High School at 8:15 am. For more information about Veterans Day events in Perham, please call: 218-346-7678.

Vietnam Veterans of America Town Hall

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The Vietnam Veterans of America will hold a Town Hall meeting to address the birth defects, diseases, and learning disabilities affecting the children and grandchildren of our nation’s veterans. The forum will be held on Saturday, November 15, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the American Legion Wm T McCoy Post 92 (315 1st Ave N.W.) in Rochester. For more information please contact Joe Brown via email or telephone at 507-990-1347, or Maynard Kaderlik at 507-581-6402.

Veterans History Project

The Library of Congress Veterans History Project collects, preserves, and displays personal accounts of American war veterans from the first and second World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan. With hundreds of personal narratives, correspondence, and visual artifacts, the Veteran History Project helps provide the public a better understanding of the realities of war. Veterans and their families, interviewers, and students are encouraged to participate and contribute to the project by completing online registration. Resources for educators and students are also available.

Military Matters

Op-Ed: VA is Critical to Medicine and Vets

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald recently wrote an op-ed column that appeared in the Baltimore Sun newspaper. Titled “VA is Critical to Medicine and Vets,” the column emphasizes the increasing value and importance VA care.

VA Benefits COLA Increase for 2015

The 2015 COLA (Cost-of-Living Adjustments) is 1.7% which is slightly higher than last year’s increase of 1.5%.  However, it is the third year in a row where it is less than 2 percent.  COLA impacts benefits to about 1.96 million military retirees and 4 million disabled veterans.

Marine Corps Change of Command

At the Marine Barracks, in Washington, outgoing Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos, handed the Marine Corps over to Gen. Joseph Dunford, Jr. Amos is retiring after 44 years of service to our nation. Gen. Dunford, an Infantryman, becomes the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps.

This Month in Military History

Marine Corps 239th Birthday
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The Continental Marine Corps, the institutional roots of the United States Marine Corps, was established by the Continental Congress on November 10, 1775. With no more than 2,000 enlisted Colonial Marines, the Corps’ primary duty was on-board security to protect the Captain of a ship and his officers. The Marine Corps has since expanded in both its mission and scope, with 194,000 active service Marines (40,000 in reserve) acting as dominant practitioners in amphibious warfare and expeditionary crisis response. Each year, the Marine Corps holds a birthday ball on November 10 to honor the long tradition of Marine service and sacrifice.  

American Legion

The American Legion, the nation’s largest veteran service organization, held its first convention in Minneapolis on November 10, 1919. Consisting originally of several hundred World War I veterans, the Legion has grown to more than 2.4 million members dedicated to veteran health, jobs, benefits, and education. In addition to advocating for the nation’s veteran community at the nationwide, state, and local levels, the American Legion often conducts community and youth service activities.