Dems: Iowa veterans deserve our support

January 24, 2016

Veterans from across Iowa visited the State Capitol on January 20 for the annual Veterans Day on the Hill. We welcomed them to the Senate and listened to their concerns and ideas.

They had a full schedule of activities, including a special ceremony in the rotunda honoring their service. In addition they had the opportunity to meet Adjutant General Timothy Orr of the Iowa National Guard, Commandant Jodi Tymeson of the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown, Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs Executive Director Col. Robert King (Ret.), and members of the Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs.

The Legislature’s Veterans Affairs Committee has worked in a bipartisan way to expand benefits for our veterans, service members and their families. For example, last year we:

  • Provided a stable source of revenue for the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund by transferring $2.5 million in lottery revenues each year to the trust fund (SF 323).
  • Offered flexibility in using college aid by providing a total of 120 undergraduate credit hours through the National Guard Educational Assistance Program, instead of administering aid by term (SF 130).
  • Expanded college credit for military education, training and experience to include National Guard members and Reservists, saving them time and money in completing their degrees (HF 205).
  • Ensured a full property tax exemption through the Disabled Veterans Property Tax Credit to veterans who have 100 percent service-connected, permanent disability that makes it impossible to work (HF 166).
  • Added “service-disabled veteran” to the definition of targeted small businesses, which are eligible for low-interest loans and grants, as well as consideration when that state seeks bids for goods and services (SF 499).

This year, we continue to explore opportunities to support our veterans, enhance existing services at the state and county levels, help returning service members reenter civilian life, and encourage more veterans to make Iowa their home.

Iowa troops who have answered the call to duty deserve this dedicated support.

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