Legislatively we have been extremely busy in Minnesota. In the state we held our first ever DAV hosted town hall meeting in Rochester, MN on February 11th. I think it was a great success, we had over 60 Veterans in attendance and two State Senators spoke and fielded questions. I owe a big thank you to May Southeast Chapter #28 for being the host chapter for this event and Honker Events for donating an amazing meal and venue.
On Monday the 29th of February we will be holding our second town hall style meeting in Mankato. I am sure this event will be a huge success as well. I will also be in Duluth on the 27th of February to discuss legislative strategies, and opportunities, with the Veterans from the Northeastern portion of Minnesota.
I have also heard of at least three coach busses being chartered by DAV chapters around the state to bring their area Veterans, regardless of affiliation, to St. Paul for Veterans Day on the Hill on March 16th. I am incredibly excited to see this happening from some of the farthest reaches of our state. Far too often we allow St. Paul to forget these aren’t uninhabited lands outside of the Metro Area.
A delegation of 14 DAV of MN members also just returned from advocating for our Veterans in Washington, D.C. I personally got to be a part of these efforts and would like to thank them for their hard work and our chapters for their invaluable support. During our time in D.C. we met with 8/10ths of the Congressional Delegation and had small group meetings with important members of their staffs.
There have been many other efforts made on the part of the DAV of MN and I am excited to continue to be a part of those efforts.
I was recently asked a couple of important question; “Why put all of this effort into legislative work?” and “Did you get anything accomplished?”. I would like to wrap this article up by answering those two questions.
“Why put all of this effort into legislative work?”
I have said since I was first appointed to this position, that I see an opportunity for the DAV of MN to become a leader in Veteran’s legislative issues in the state. All of these efforts are a major step in that direction. My goal is for us not to be an organization that has to react to legislation, but one that is consulted in the state when legislative efforts are in their infancy. I want lawmakers come to us as opposed to us going to them. This is possible and if we continue on our current path, I believe we can make this happen.
“Did you get anything accomplished?”
This is a difficult question to answer. Mainly because very little happens quickly in legislation. We can’t simply suggest a fix and expect it enacted the very next day. Many of the things we are calling for on behalf of our fellow Veterans, their widows/widowers and families might take years of effort to see enacted. What we can’t do is let ourselves be brushed off in one session and not return for the next session. We can’t simply take our ball and go home when we don’t see quick results.
Finally, why we put in this work and what we are getting accomplished is, we are building strong grass roots Veterans network. Above I said very little happens quickly legislatively. However, when things do happen quickly, they can happen very quickly. All of efforts now will make us stronger when those times come. We need to ability to react, in force, on a moment’s notice when the benefits and rights our previous generations of Veterans have fought for are under attack.
I thank you all for your continued efforts. As always if you have any ideas/complaints/questions please do not hesitate to contact me at: [email protected] or 651-788-3186.
Trent C Dilks, Legislative Chair