Concerns of Wisconsin Veterans


Mary Burke (gubernatorial candidate) held a listening session in Wausau for Wisconsin veterans. This is what she heard.

    1. The Director of DAV (Disabled American Veterans) spoke first.  DAV works for high quality lives for veterans through advocacy. They meet with leaders at the state level as well as at the national level. They also give free assistance to vets. Last year, 25,000 rides were given to Wisconsin vets. DAV plans to hold a gubernatorial forum this fall and asked if Mary Burke would attend.
    2. Janice, a veteran, spoke of the long waiting time for appointments at the Tomah VA Center. She also said she has trouble finding a woman counselor.
    3. A Hmong veteran of Wausau told of plans to build a monument in Wisconsin. This is to commemorate Da Vang, their special military leader in Laos in the 1970’s.
    4.  Scott of Rhinelander said that the young veterans need job training and education as well as good jobs. He also said young vets have many transition issues and need more help with that.
    5. Bob of Lac du Flambeau said that the younger vets need a special court. As vets return to Wisconsin, they face adjustment issues and sometimes end up in court. He gave the example of Eric Pizer, a decorated Iraqi veteran, who cannot join a police force because of a felony. He seeks a pardon, but has been unsuccessful.
    6. Dan of Plainfield said that he lived in Oklahoma for 25 years where the care for veterans was much worse than in Wisconsin.
    7. John of Wausau said that he was very happy with the Veteran Service here. He is able to receive medical care from Aspirus in Wausau, rather than in Tomah.

Earlier in the day, Burke presented her plans for veterans’ aid at a press release in MadisonWisconsin Veterans Meeting - Mary Burke

    1. Burke would seek legislation to repeal a law which Governor Walker signed earlier this year that made it more difficult for victims of asbestos-related diseases to recover damages in court.
    2. Burke also promised to reinstate the Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which Gov. Doyle signed into law in 2009 and Walker repealed in 2012. The law allowed people in certain protected classes, including veterans, to sue employers for pay discrimination in court.
    3. She pledged changes at the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, such as restoring committees that included veterans from around the state, creating a new committee dedicated to veteran employment and education, and  appointing a university services program ombudsman. At the very least, veterans should be able to provide input on the operations of Wisconsin veterans’ homes.


By Virginia Kirsch