The men and women of our armed forces and their families make incredible sacrifices every day. My husband Jim retired from the Air Force many years ago and we were fortunate to receive the support of our government so that we could successfully start our family.
Pierce County is proud to be home to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Madigan Army Medical Center, and Camp Murray National Guard post. These installations and the people they bring to Pierce County are vital to our local character and economy. This is why everyone in our area has a stake in the future of our veterans and military families and why we need to continue to support them as they return home from their service.
In Olympia I was honored to serve as Co-chair of the Legislature's Joint Select Committee on Veterans & Military Affairs and to receive the 2007 Legislator of the Year for Outstanding Service to Veterans. Through this post I was able to work on some key pieces of legislation to help Veterans and their families.
The Veterans' Innovations Program to help provide emergency relief, education, training, and employment services for veterans of recent military action and the Defenders Fund to help provide a smooth transition home from service overseas.
Expanded college tuition waivers for veterans and National Guard members
Financial protections for National Guard members, a Veteran Down Payment Assistance Program to speed home ownership, and Civil protections for families of active-duty National Guard members.
Granting property-tax relief for low-income widows and widowers of veterans.
We will continue to have many troops returning home as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and making sure they can successfully enter into civilian life will be instrumental to the success of our economy. Olympia needs to be proactive in their approach and I hope to continue to work on this important issue.