By Sen. Gail Schwartz [SD-5]
This Monday, our nation celebrates Memorial Day, the historic celebration and remembrance of those who gave their lives in service to this country. My position on the frontlines of statewide policymaking has given me a special appreciation for our freedom in a democratic republic. As a result, I have a special respect and sense of obligation to our men and women in uniform. Our troops and veterans play a vital role in protecting our nation and in the maintenance of our democracy. Their sacrifice for a cause larger than themselves allows me and my colleagues the opportunity to serve our constituents through government. In other words, our troops and veterans protect not only American citizens, but American democracy itself.
It seems only right then that one of our highest priorities as legislators is to support our veterans to the greatest possible extent. Just as veterans have been busy protecting American lives and interests, my colleagues and I in the Senate and House of Representatives have been working to fix problems that confront veterans every day. A provision of SB13-210 seeks to help veterans who have fallen on hard times by converting the unused Fort Lyons Correctional Facility into a shelter and rehabilitation center for hundreds of homeless Colorado veterans. Memorial Day also reminds us of the importance of dignified resting places for our fallen heroes. SB 13-040 honors fallen service men and women by expanding and funding the Homelake Military Veterans Cemetery.
These are just two pieces of legislation passed this session meant to honor and assist our veterans. You can learn more about any of the legislation below by visiting the Colorado General Assembly website at http://www.leg.state.co.us/. Also, please continue to contact my office with ideas of legislation to help veterans. I am excited to continue to serve our nation’s true heroes in the coming year.
HJR 13-1006: Concerning recognition of Military, Veterans, and MIA/POW Appreciation Day
HJR 13-1008: Concerning U.S.S. Pueblo
HJR 13-1009: Concerning the designation of the Leopard Creek bridge in Placerville as the “Pfc. Paul L. Haining Memorial Bridge”
HJR 13-1012: Concerning the designation of National Guard and reserve retirees as veterans
HJR 13-1010: Concerning recognizing the 60th anniversary of the armistice marking the end of the Korean War
HJR 13-1011: Concerning recognition of military personnel from Colorado who have served in Operation New Dawn, Operation Enduring Freedom and in the Global War on Terrorism, and honoring those who have died while serving their country in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the world
HB 13-1008: Concerning the extension of the veterans preference in state hiring to the spouse of a veteran if the veteran is unable to work due to a military service-connected disability
HB 13-1119: Concerning placement of the word “veteran” on identity documents issued by the Department of Revenue for veterans with proper documentation
SB 13-040: Concerning the completion of the cemetery expansion project at the Homelake Military Veterans Cemetery
SB13-210: Repurposing the unused Ft. Lyon prison into a homeless transitional facility for veterans and others