Ensuring that Guam Veterans' voices are heard
Senator Aline A. Yamashita, PhD, recently sent a letter supporting two measures relative to veterans’ benefits that will be heard Wednesday, May 15, 2013 (EST) by the US Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to ensure that Guam veterans are included in all measures to better the lives of those men and women who served in the armed forces protecting our nation.
“It is important to ensure that the Guam soldier is included in all opportunities,” says Sen. Yamashita. “As the American soldier is across the nation, our geographic location should not impede what the Guam Veteran and their family can access or avail. The Guam Veteran counts and as the highest per capita in the nation, we know this.”
The two measures – S.495 – Careers for Veterans Act of 2013 and S. 492 – To amend title 38, United States Code, to require States to recognize the military experience of veterans when issuing licenses and credentials to veterans, and for other purposes were sponsored by Senator Richard Burr and several co-sponsors. Sen. Yamashita testified that they would broaden opportunities for our returning heroes to be engaged in meaningful work and they will widen the doors for our veterans re-integrating into the community post war duty.
Sen. Yamashita thanks J. Rick Perez, Director of Inter-governmental Affairs & External Relations, Washington, D.C., Office of the Governor of Guam, for coordinating the effort to gather input from Guam’s leaders to submit to Congress.
Copy of the letter:
May 10, 2013
The Honorable Bernard Sanders
Chairman, US Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
217 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Sanders:
I am writing in support of two measures before you in Congress- S.495 – Careers for Veterans Act of 2013 and S. 492 – To amend title 38, United States Code, to require States to recognize the military experience of veterans when issuing licenses and credentials to veterans, and for other purposes– as they would broaden opportunities for our returning heroes to be engaged in meaningful work.
As a Senator in the 32nd Guam Legislature, I am constantly looking towards growing opportunities of support for our veterans and their families. The longer I
serve, the more concerned I become for all families and, most certainly our Guam veterans and their families.
As you are probably aware, Guam has the highest per capita military representation. Guam is a proud, loyal American island. Currently, out of our island population of approximately 160,000, our veterans account for 14,000.
Sadly, the supports and services afforded veterans elsewhere are not found in our island. From medical challenges to the lack of unemployment compensation
insurance, Guam soldiers who have proudly and distinctively served our nation, returns home to find great hardships as they re-integrate into life beyond war. The Guam veteran has the same challenges found in every American community but ours face harder times because of a lack of resources. As well, because of our geographic location, Guam veterans and their families are unable to travel to another county or state to access much needed supports and services.
Out of Guam’s 7,970 unemployed in the civilian labor force, 3,800 are veterans. As the standards are met during duty, the acknowledgement of that accomplishment only makes sense. As well, the expansion of the VA small business contracting goals to include those owned by one or more veterans opens the doors wider.
As Guam veterans and their families gave, it is now our turn to give. Providing the opportunities for them to find life meaningful and relevant is a needed step. This office humbly and respectfully asks that you ensure that Guam veterans and their families are always included in all measures for veterans. Thank you for your time and kind attention and for the opportunity to be heard.
Aline A. Yamashita, Ph.D.