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  • Writer's pictureWCMP

Pine County Veterans Travel to St. Paul for Veteran's Day on the Hill

A small group of Pine County veterans joined hundreds of other veterans and supporters from around the state at the Capitol in St. Paul last Thursday for Veterans Day on the Hill.

The group gathered in the Cedar Street Armory for a meal and to hear from speakers before marching to the Capitol Rotunda to make their legislative priorities for 2023 heard.

Those legislative priorities laid out by Minnesota Commanders' Task Force includes the passage of a clean Veterans Omnibus Bill, state funding to MDVA for the prevention of veteran suicide, amending the Post-9/11 service bonus, property tax cuts for veterans and families, and increases in aid to sheltered homeless veterans.

The group's energy in the rotunda was electric as the veterans and their supporters answered each demand with a resounding, "now."

The Pine County group later met with State Senator Jason Rarick and State Representative Nathan Nelson where they discussed more specific issues like increased mental healthcare for veterans and active members of the military members and problems with the VA.

"Thank you for that," Rep. Nelson told the group as the meeting wrapped up. "Yes, there are things that you are advocating for yourself, but many of you are here because they don't want to see the same things happen to the next person or their loved one."

David David, Commander of the Pine City VFW, led the Pine County group on Thursday. He told WCMP that he was happy to put faces to their ask and hopes State Legislatures can now get to work.

"It was great for them (Nelson and Rarick) to take time out of their busy day to speak to us... Hopefully, they will bring it up to their colleagues, including the Governor, and they will step up to help us with this Veterans Omnibus Bill."

Group in the first photo (listed in out of order): Pine City VFW Commander David David, Dennis White, Dale Wilkening, Ron Dracy, Steven Dracy, Julie Brown, Derrell Jensen, Kathy Dracy, Sen. Jason Rarick, and Rep. Nathan Nelson.

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