Veterans voice concerns, outline legislative agenda items at town hall

CARMEL, Ind. – Veterans are making sure their voices are heard by state lawmakers and local government officials during a series of town hall meetings across the state.

Tuesday, veterans at a meeting in Carmel raised their concerns and outlined their legislative agenda items for the upcoming legislative session.

"It's really important for the legislators to hear our concerns we have many healthcare being right at the top of the list, also  treatment of PTSD as our returning veterans from the global war on terror suicide rates among veterans are at an all-time high," said Steven McDanield, commander of VFW Post 10003.

Some of the issues veterans raised include support for medical marijuana and ways to help veterans find employment.

But before the town hall, a group of Indiana veterans groups called the Big Four, including the VFW, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans and the American legion, met to approve a list of their legislative agenda items for the next session.

"We've come a long way veterans contribute a lot to the state of Indiana we're not asking for a handout," said Richard Leirer, the commander for dist. 6 of the VFW in Indiana and legislative chairman.

"We want to make sure we clean up some legislation that was passed this last year in the budget bill with some wording to extend the program for our homeless veterans and for our hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment for traumatic brain injury," said Lisa Wilken, the legislative director for Indiana AMVETS.

Wilken said they also want to make another run at a bill creating a lottery scratch off ticket to help fund veterans’ programs.

"We think we have the support now to get it passed this year," Leirer said.

The next town hall will be held Oct. 17 in Indianapolis.

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