Friday, November 9, 2007

Iowa Democratic Veterans’ Caucus to Release ‘Four Points of Honor’ Platform Today

On the eve of the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) Jefferson Jackson Dinner and Veterans’ Day Weekend, the Iowa Democratic Veterans’ Caucus (IDVC) will unveil their federal policy platform priorities, “Four Points of Honor,” at a press conference today at the Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines. The event will be held in the rotunda and will be attended by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut.

The Four Points of Honor grew out of the IDVC, which has been pushing veterans’ issues to the forefront of the political agenda with the intent of elevating theses issues during the build-up to Iowa’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses Jan. 3. The IDVC, which considers their efforts “Our Second Call to Duty!” hopes to set the stage for veterans all over the country. In addition to building a network of politically active veterans and pushing a national agenda, the IDVC will be working with Gov. Chet Culver and the Iowa General Assembly to elevate veterans’ issues at the Statehouse.

Given the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Bush administrations’ failure to provide for the growing number of veterans and veteran-related issues, the IDVC feels that veterans need to get organized and advocate for themselves. “This is an historic time in our country, and I urge you to answer this ‘second call to duty,’” says Bob Krause, chair of the IDVC. “Your country needs your involvement now as never before.”

The IDVC is also concerned that veterans, who served prior to the current wars, will be left behind and will continue its fight to keep these voices heard in the political discourse. These veterans know what it’s like to be ignored, forgotten, and cast aside in the political arena and have adopted the battle cry as part of its IDVC mantra, “Never Shall One Generation of Veterans Abandon Another!”

The Four Points of Honor bring more focus on veterans’ issues regarding veterans’ health care costs and budgets, eligibility requirements, equity for Guard and Reserve veterans, and special medical needs. The IDVC has passed the following resolutions that reflect these Four Points of Honor:

1. VETERANS HEALTH CARE COSTS AND BUDGETS: The Iowa Democratic Veterans’ Caucus supports mandatory federal funding for veterans’ health care for all veterans.

2. VETERANS ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS: It is the unwavering position of the Iowa Democratic Veterans’ Caucus that the Veterans Administration (VA) health care provisions are a contractual agreement earned by veterans. As such, we insist that financial means testing, co-pay and any or all other devices utilized to exclude or limit veterans’ health care benefits be rescinded.

3. EQUITY FOR RESERVE AND GUARD VETERANS: The Iowa Democratic Veterans’ Caucus is deeply troubled and concerned that both Reserve and National Guard veterans are treated differently under the terms of the Montgomery GI Bill than are active or Regular Armed Services veterans. We call on each Democratic presidential candidate and each member of the Iowa Congressional delegation to review the status of veterans’ educational benefits for the Reserve and Guard and bring them to parity with the educational benefits of Regular Armed Services veterans.

4. VETERANS’ SPECIAL MEDICAL NEEDS: The Iowa Democratic Veterans’ Caucus supports increased emphasis on the provision of and delivery of medical special needs for all Veterans. These special needs include services for the following physiological and psychological service-related injuries and disabilities:

-Mental Disorders (with particular emphasis placed upon and directed toward PTSD)
-Medical and mental health services specific to Women Veterans
-Traumatic Brain Injury,
-Orthopedic injuries and amputation services.

For more information on the Four Points of Honor, including the rationale behind the resolutions, go to the IDVC website to read the policy platform in its entirety. Any Iowa veterans interested in learning more about the IDVC or becoming a member of the organization are also encouraged to visit the group’s website. The IDVC’s next meeting will be held at the Communications Workers of America headquarters in Des Moines tomorrow, Nov. 10th, at 10:00 a.m.

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