The following is a press release:
CAMBRIDGE – On the heels of Veterans Day, Democrat for Governor Jay Gonzalez today, November 13, released a comprehensive plan to improve the lives of veterans and military families across Massachusetts.
“Veterans, active members of the armed services and their families make enormous sacrifices for our safety and protection. We have a responsibility to stand up for them in the same way they stood up for us,” Gonzalez said. “Unfortunately, we’re not doing enough. Homelessness continues to be a problem that disproportionately affects veterans. And our veterans continue to face too many barriers to accessing employment and quality health care. We can and must do better.”
Chief among Gonzalez’s proposals is a plan to expand the definition of Gold Star families eligible for state benefits to include the families of those who died in military service, regardless of whether the death was caused during combat or other circumstances.
Building on his work under Governor Deval Patrick, Gonzalez is also proposing to eliminate homelessness among the state’s veteran population through “Housing First” and harm-reduction models with increased investment in programs that create affordable housing options for veterans in all areas of the Commonwealth.
Gonzalez’s plan focuses on ensuring that veterans and their families receive the state benefits they deserve.
A recent report by State Auditor Suzanne Bump revealed that under Governor Baker, there are thousands of veterans who are eligible for state benefits who fail to receive them because of poor management by the state.
Gonzalez’s plan also calls for the Secretary of Veteran’s Services to be elevated to a cabinet-level position and for the civil service hiring preference to be expanded to Gold Star children.
Gonzalez proposes to file legislation seeking to expand the civil service preference currently given to children of firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty to include Gold Star children.
“I appreciate Jay’s comprehensive look at how we can honor and support our veterans,” said State Representative Jerry Parisella, a veteran of the Army Reserves. “So few serve in the military today, and those that do often face multiple deployments, therefore, having a strategy that ensures we provide the best services in the nation is something we owe to the men and women who put on the uniform and defend our country. Jay’s plan will ensure Massachusetts remains the leader in the nation in supporting our veterans.”
Read the full plan here: http://www.jay4ma.com/veteransplan/