Franken for Senate Weekly Update - August 30, 2013
|Hi Folks — |
Before kicking off this week's update I wanted to let you know that we're our hiring fall interns. If you know anyone interested in interning for the campaign, please have them send a resume to Jessi Held at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, the we are moving to a larger office space soon and are in need of office furniture and supplies. If you have spare folding tables, desks, chairs, kitchen supplies, etc. please let Jessi know.
Al spent much of last weekend and this week visiting with Minnesotans at the fair at his official U.S. Senate booth. He also made stops by the Minnesota DFL, AFL-CIO and Minnesota Farmers Union booths, in addition to spending time walking around the fairgrounds and talking with fairgoers.
Outside the fairgrounds this week, Al joined Congresswoman Betty McCollum at a forum to discuss the importance of the nutrition title in the renewal of the Farm Bill. He toured the Fergus Falls Veterans Home and talked about making sure education, jobs and benefits are readily available for our veterans. And he spoke with students at Minnesota State University Moorhead about making sure they have access to an affordable and quality education.
And in case you missed it: last Friday, Al joined Congressman Tim Walz, veterans and veterans' advocates in Rochester to talk about their work to end the VA benefits backlog to make sure our veterans get the benefits they've earned. He also stopped by a Renewable Energy Group (REG) plant near Glenville to celebrate the reopening and expansion of the plant and to highlight Minnesota's renewable energy potential.
In the news…
Senator Franken pays visit to Veterans Home. Veterans Home Administrator Jon Skillingstad gave Franken an informal tour of the 106-resident facility. Franken stopped along the way to chat with veterans in the hallway or enjoy some cookies. He thanked them for their service and even joked around a bit. “It's an unbelievably wonderful facility,” Franken said. “It really makes me feel good.” Franken, who's been an advocate for veterans, wants to make sure education, jobs and benefits are available for veterans, especially the help for disabled veterans so they can get through everyday life. It's also about helping veterans later in life when they need the kind of care the veterans home provides. It's the kind of sensitive, thoughtful care that is “exactly what I see here,” Franken said. [Fergus Falls Daily Journal, 8/29/13]
Sen. Franken raises concerns about how sequester affects Minnesota seniors. U.S. Senator Al Franken is raising concerns about the effect of sequestration on Minnesota seniors. Federal across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester reduced Older Americans Act funding in Minnesota by about six percent, or $1.4 million, from 2012 levels. That money is used for senior services like home-delivered meals and transportation. At a Monday meeting in St. Paul with about 150 seniors and senior advocates, Franken said providing those services can actually save money. "It enables seniors to stay in their homes, where they want to be, where they prefer to be, and not have to go into a senior living facility, go into a nursing home, which just costs so much more money," he said. [MPR, 8/27/13]
Sen. Franken and U.S. Rep. McCollum to appear at hunger forum. With the federal food assistance program SNAP embroiled in the farm bill battle in Congress, U.S. Sen. Al Franken and Congresswoman Betty McCollum will appear at a hunger forum Tuesday in St. Paul Park. Promoted by Hunger Solutions, the event is billed as a "discussion of hunger in Minnesota and the importance of SNAP as a hunger relief tool, the renewal of the Farm Bill." Also on the panel will be Colleen Moriarty, executive director of Hunger Solutions Minnesota; Michelle Rageth, executive director, Friends in Need Food Shelf; and some SNAP enrollees. [MinnPost, 8/26/13]
Walz, Franken Push to End VA Backlog. There are hundreds of thousands of military veterans who are waiting to get benefits they need. They range from medical, to financial assistance. It's an ongoing problem, with some waiting more than a year to get help. Locally when it comes to medical care, many veterans are required to travel to the twin cities. It's one of the things two Minnesota lawmakers, are working to change for our service men and women. … Getting veterans the services they earned and deserve is the reason Congressman Tim Walz and Senator Al Franken were in Rochester Friday. [KAAL, 8/23/13]
Franken, Walz push bill to speed up VA claims. Struggling with severe back pain, Minnesota National Guard reservist Michelle Smith traveled to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., in hopes of getting treatment and to apply for medical compensation. More than a year and half later, the now-retired Smith still is waiting for the Veterans Administration to approve her medical claim. Last month, the Houston resident found out that officials in Seattle simply had failed to send her file to the Veterans Administration for final approval. … She joined a group of veterans and veterans advocates meeting with Sen. Al Franken and 1st District Rep. Tim Walz on Friday in Rochester to discuss their frustration with how long it is taking the VA to process disability claims. [Post-Bulletin, 8/23/13]
Franken on hand for biodiesel reopening, expansion. U.S. Sen. Al Franken congratulated Renewable Energy Group Inc. Friday on the reopening and expansion of its plant near Glenville. The upgrades allow the 30-million-gallons-a-year facility to make biodiesel from low-grade fats, oils and other natural resources that would normally take longer to refine. “This facility exemplifies Minnesota's renewable energy potential,” said Franken during a ceremony at the plant. “You're helping our nation reduce its reliance on foreign oil.” [Austin Daily Herald, 8/24/13]
Al Franken for Senate 2014
Klobuchar Statement on Defense Department Recommending Legislation to Help Support Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military
|Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar today made the following statement after Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the Defense Department is recommending legislation that would help support victims of sexual assault in the military. The proposed changes would amend “convening authority” provisions in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) law that allow senior officers to change the findings of a court-martial for serious offenses like sexual assault and would require convening authorities to explain in writing their changes to court-martial sentences.|
“No brave American in uniform out on the front lines serving our country who is the victim of sexual assault should have to fight to pursue justice,” Klobuchar said. “Secretary Hagel's action today is an important first step, but there is more to be done to build a more fair and transparent military judicial system. I will continue to work to ensure that victims get the support they need and deserve.”
Last month Klobuchar introduced bipartisan legislation to help fight sexual assault in the military. The Military Sexual Assault Prevention Act of 2013 would prevent sexual offenders from serving in the military, improve tracking and review of sexual assault claims in the military, and help ensure victims can get the justice they deserve.
In recent years there has been an increase in reports of sexual assaults in the military. According to the Department of Defense, there were 3,192 official reports of sexual assaults in the military in 2011. Because most incidents are not reported to a military authority, the Pentagon estimates this number represents only 13 to 14 percent of total assaults – making the total estimated number of sexual assaults in the military over 19,000 in 2011. A recent study found that 53% of homeless female veterans had experienced sexual trauma while in the military.
Research has shown that sexual trauma not only hurts the victims, but can also take a toll on their fellow service members by severely undermining unit cohesion, morale, and overall force effectiveness.
Brigit Helgen, 202-224-2159
Republicans vs. Veterans' Jobs
|Published: September 16, 2012|
NY Times Opinion Page
If you made a list of things lawmakers of both parties profess to value at all times — like “jobs,” “opportunity,” “veterans,” “law enforcement,” “firefighters,” “safe streets,” “small business” — and plugged them into a Congressional bill-writing app, you would probably end up with something like the Veterans Job Corps Act of 2012.
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The VA is Looking for Feedback Regarding Issues that Face Women Veterans
|Please help with your input, and participate in the drafting stage of a strategic plan that is being developed by the Women Veterans Task Force of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The task force, which was called for by Secretary Shinseki in July 2011, is chaired by the VA Chief of Staff with the three Under Secretaries serving as a governing board. For additional information and to participate, go to http://vawomenvetstratplan.uservoice.com/forums/159415-general|
Veterans Face Job Discrimination; Feds are Biggest Offender
By msnbc.com staff
It has become a mainstream story – a soldier is unable to find work because of military obligations.
Many of those stories are about small, private companies. But according to The Washington Post, the biggest offender is the federal government.
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The Road we've Traveled
|"The Road We Traveled" A video about the tough calls that President Obama has made over the past three years. |
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