The New Year has started and I’m excited to begin our work together serving Washington’s Veterans and their Families!
The State Legislative Session began on Monday and we hit the ground running meeting with members of the Ways and Means, Appropriations and Capital Budget Committees to ensure they are aware of the funding requests included in the Governor’s Budget for WDVA. Our largest request is for funds to help close the gap in our Veterans Homes caused by revenue challenges at two of our facilities.
On the Capital Budget side, I am very happy to report that the Governor’s Budget has a number of investments in our State Veterans Homes ranging from HVAC system upgrades to new flooring, paving and even the removal of 2 old buildings that are becoming safety concerns.
When it comes to WDVA’s Counseling and Wellness Program (this is the new and improved name for the Behavioral Health Program), we will see a focus not only on providing counseling services to veterans and families but also in offering education and training to providers and employers serving veterans each day in our communities. Programs such as the Veterans Peer Corps and Veterans Farm at Orting will also grow in 2019.
Other issues we are committed to working on include suicide prevention for both veterans and families of veterans. Already we have seen several bills introduced that would increase awareness and provide services in our schools and communities.
In addition, we will continue to work with our legislators on military spouse employment and how challenges in this area impact not only the military family but also the ability of the military itself to retain service members.
In the coming weeks there will be many more bills introduced by legislators with a goal of improving or enhancing services to Washington’s veterans and families. You can stay up to date by signing up for our weekly legislative email updates at https://orange.hosting.lsoft.com/list/subscribe.html?lui=ov8ia944&mConta...