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Monday, April 07, 2008

Oregon veterans need our help--urgently!

Portland, Oregon-- The average age of combat soldiers and marines serving in Iraq and Afghanistan is 22 years.

Coming home, they face an unemployment rate much higher than for civilians.

80% report that they are unprepared for job hunting.

75% report that they have difficulty translating their military experience into the civilian workplace. Many find work as prison guards.

50% of those employed after deployment work at jobs paying less than $ 25,000 a year, income that would put you at the edge of homelessness.

Charlie Company’s First Platoon, of the Ist Battalion 4th Marine Division, made a video/slide show of their experiences in Iraq’s Al Anbar Province, from May to October, 2007, posted on Youtube.

This compelling video documents why those troubling statistics are so high, and points to our responsibility at home to invest in transitional services for veterans and their families.

Many thanks to Oregonian Steve Weiss, whose son served with the 1st platoon on this deployment, for sharing this.

1/4 charlie company 1st platoon part 1 of 2 redux
1/4 charlie company 1st platoon part 2 of 2 redux

Here’s the link to Charlie Company’s video/slide show:

Be sure to see both parts!


Governor Kulongoski creates Task Force on Veterans Services

Governor Kulongoski has created by Executive Order the Task Force on Veterans Services, which will evaluate veterans issues and report its recommendations for improvements to be considered by the 2009-11 Legislature.

This is the necessary first step towards the creation of a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to work jointly with the House Veterans Affairs Committee, which is certainly to be among the Task Force’s recommendations.

In a previous post, I outlined how the lack of a Senate committee hampers progress on improving services to veterans, leaving many bills stranded.

Here’s the link:

The urgent nature of veterans-related issues calls for a joint working committee, particularly during wartime, and that committee should remain open during the entire legislative session and continue to meet during the interim.

The Governor’s Task Force will include one Senator to be appointed by the Senate President, and one Representative to be appointed by the Speaker of the House.

The Senate appointment to the Task Force establishes a crucial link between the Senate, the House and the Governor’s Office for working on veterans issues.

The Governor’s Office released the following announcement and link:

(Salem) – Governor Ted Kulongoski signed Executive Order 08-08 last week creating the Governor’s Task Force on Veterans Services to compile, review and evaluate current veterans policies, procedures and programs, and to develop recommendations for improvements to ensure that Oregon veterans have access to the services they need.

“More than 360,000 Oregonians have unselfishly served in uniform,” Governor Kulongoski said. “The veterans’ issues emerging as a result of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are significant, and are impacting our families and communities. But in addressing those, we must also remember the men and women who fought in Vietnam, World War II and the Korean War so that Oregon is providing adequate care and services for all generations of veterans – not just some.”

The Governor directed the task force identify service needs for the different generations of veterans and to conduct a comprehensive inventory of state and federal services. As part of this evaluation, the Governor asked the task force to focus on: 1) reintegration services; 2) post-separation access services; and 3) retirement/senior care, and to develop recommendations to enhance coordination of services among state and federal partners.

“Uncoordinated attempts to provide care for our veterans has created confusion and frustration for our veterans and their families,” the Governor continued. “The lack of a comprehensive approach to veterans care limits the impact of scarce resources and our capacity to help veterans who need and deserve our care. To ensure that our veterans do not fall through the cracks, we must begin collaborating to ensure we are providing quality services that meet the unique needs of all of our veterans.”

The task force will develop a comprehensive list of recommendations, including potential legislation for the 2009 legislative session, to be delivered to the Governor by December 31, 2008. The task force will hold its first meeting Friday, April 3 at the Oregon Department of Human Services in Salem.

Click here for the Executive Order creating the task force.


I need your help to send me to the Oregon Senate, to serve on a new Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. --Sean Cruz


contribute online at:

Mail contributions to: Friends of Sean Cruz
POB 30093
Portland, Oregon 97230

Volunteers, contact me at:


1 comment:

Bob - Oregon retiree said...

I support the premise! Being a vet in a Oregon retirement community I have a special interest in the topic so I might be biased. However, I think we need to support our retired Oregon vets and provide them with as much a sense of community as possible!