Veterans Bill of Rights
What We're Up Against
Those among us who sacrifice the most for our country, are treated the worst by our wealthy Good Old Boy politicians and the lobbyists and millionaires they serve.
West Virginia is home to roughly 145,171 veterans, which is nearly 10% of the state’s population. The unemployment rate here among veterans was 7.6% in 2017, compared to the US average of 4.6% in August, 2019. More than 20% of our state’s veterans have a disability; more than 8% of live in poverty, and 137 veterans are homeless–and nearly 15,000 live in housing “with one or more major problems.”
It doesn’t have to be this way.
West Virginia has a proud tradition of military service. We have often led the nation into battle. Now we must lead the nation in honoring our veterans.
We will invest in supporting innovative projects, programs, and infrastructure that improve the health and well-being of Veterans.
- Start by funding and building the past-due veterans nursing home in Beckley.
- Establish the nation’s most aggressive state veteran suicide prevention plan–addressing mental health, housing and food insecurity, substance abuse, and other issues–led by and for veterans.
- Support Veteran Administration efforts to provide MST (Military Sexual Trauma Treatment) as well as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) treatment.
- Investigate and hold VA hospitals and veterans services accountable for inefficient or criminal behavior.
- Create a jobs promise for veterans.
- Create a state GI Bill including for current or former members of the Reserve and National Guard, that provides a stipend of up to $1000 stipend to help them cover the costs of higher ed, including vocational or trade school.
- Institute a $250 annual “Honoring the Sacrifice” tax credit for every West Virginia veteran to help alleviate financial strain for veterans and their families.
- Update our laws to recognize those who have served significant time in the National Guard as veterans for tax and other purposes.
Appoint the state commander or their representative from each of the 19 legally established veterans service organization (VSO) to the Governor’s Veterans Council and give each a vote.
No one politician or slate of candidates can win this plan alone. We need you.
If you have an idea for how to make this plan stronger, or if you would like to lend a hand to win it, contact our co-chair Stephen Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.