OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICANS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 2011
Contact: Nick Smith
HOUSE REPUBLICANS OFFER CARE PACKAGE
FOR OREGON’S VETERANS
SALEM—House Republican members held a news conference today to announce their Care Package for Oregon Veterans, which highlights bills the Legislature should approve before the 2011 session adjourns. The package of eight bills help provide job opportunities, health care, and support services to veterans, current Oregon service members overseas, and their families at home.
“The Legislature’s work to support Oregon’s veterans isn’t finished,” said Rep. Sal Esquivel (R-Medford), a Vietnam veteran and Co-Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. “Our Care Package lists a number of bills that are a high priority and must be passed this session. It’s up to us to take care of our service members, returning veterans and their families.”
The Care Package expands access to medical and mental health care for veterans, and provides vouchers for medical transport for veterans using wheelchairs for mobility. The package also helps defray the cost of Internet service so military members can stay in touch with family members back home.
“These bills will make a real difference in the lives of many Oregon veterans,” said Rep. Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte), an Oregon Air National Guard member. “We have a responsibility to ensure that our veterans have access to adequate care, especially as our citizen soldiers return home.”
With Oregon continuing to suffer from high unemployment, bills in the Care Package also help create jobs for veterans and civilians. House Republicans support funding for the Veterans Service Officer certification program and the establishment of a third veteran’s home in Roseburg.
“Oregon is suffering an unemployment crisis, especially among our veterans,” said Rep. Katie Eyre Brewer (R-Hillsboro). “Building an additional veteran’s home and funding the Veterans’ Service Officers certification program will expand services to veterans and create much-needed jobs. If we can identify state resources for the bills in our Care Package, we would secure additional federal dollars that could come to Oregon.”
While most of the Care Package bills are being debated in the Ways and Means Committee, three of the bills are waiting for a work session in the joint Tax Credit Committee.
“As a soldier’s wife, I feel extreme relief that the world no longer has the specter of Osama bin Laden lurking in the shadows,” stated Rep. Julie Parrish (R-Tualatin/West Linn). “The nearly ten years that we have been at war has taken a toll on Oregon families as we’ve cycled through multiple deployments. The tax credit bills would help soldiers and their families access better primary and mental health care. The toll of war on a spouse and children is significant, and access to mental health care is critical if we’re going to be able to help hold families together during year-long tours to combat zones.”
The Care Package for Oregon Veterans is attached.