H.R. 1292 – SUPPORTED!

 

1 SOW/Commissary Furlough

On February 20th at the San Diego Veterans Democratic Club of San Diego County monthly meeting, H.R. 1292, the Disabled Veterans Commissary and Exchange Store Benefits Act was unanimously supported.

This piece of legislation would allow any “veteran with a compensable service-connected disability …be permitted to use commissary and exchange stores on the same basis as a member of the armed forces entitled to retired or retainer pay.” This means that the approximately 290,000 San Diegan Veterans who are NOT retired and have a disability rating of even 0% would be allowed to shop on base. At a time when the Department of Defense is closing and reducing hours of commissary and exchange stores to budget cut backs and the sequester, this would bring in a great deal of new revenue for morale, welfare, and recreation programs for active duty and retired Veterans. This was a “no-brainer” for the Club and costs the DOD zero dollars. The cost is zero because the Veterans Affairs (VA) already issues VA identification cards for disabled veterans. This would allow for access to base and thus the services.

In 2015 San Diego was the 11th most expensive housing market with average one bedroom costing $1,340 a month. We believe that San Diego leaders should give Veterans who stay here in San Diego after their active service has ended the best opportunity to reduce their grocery bills be using commissary and exchange privileges. Additionally, in 2014 the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) found that shoppers save an average of 30.5 percent when using the commissary instead of other grocery sources. This study only addressed UPC items and the actual savings on meat and produce were even higher.

In recent years after 9/11 and the Country engaged in two wars, Veterans have become an applause line and crowd pleaser on the campaign trails, rightly so we believe. Veterans issues should not just be a talking line for campaigns, and we expect elected officials to stand by those who have served and given so much of their lives to the United States.  We expect bipartisan support across Congress and we call on all San Diego elected Congresspersons to sign on as a co-sponsor for H.R. 1292. It is the right thing to do for our Veterans.

To read the full text of the bill and to see who in Congress has already supported this legislation, please visit: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1292/

Please visit http://www.SDVetDems.org to learn more about the club and how you can get involved!

Matthew Rice

President

Veterans Democratic Club of San Diego County

2016 Veterans Club! Moving Forward!

Karen Otter has resigned as President. Her efforts to start the Veterans Club and her continued hard work over the years to advance our agenda is extremely appreciated and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

On February 10th, 2016 the Executive Board met and per the by-laws, the following appointments were made: 
President – Matthew Rice
Treasurer – Mike Taller

Mike Johnson will continue to be a strong part of our club and we greatly appreciate his commitments to promote a Veterans agenda and his service as Treasurer over the last year. We will ask for ratification of these appointments at our next meeting.

More importantly this provides a new opportunity for club growth, increased outreach, and a renewed effort to advance veteran issues in the region. Today we discussed ways to reach these goals and they include appointing Chairmen for a Political Action Committee, Membership Outreach Committee, Newsletter Committee, and to install a Public Relations Officer. Dan Buse has already been appointed as the Programs Committee Chairman and he will be focused on bringing a special program to each meeting. Additionally, initial efforts are underway to change the time and venue of the general membership meetings. Furthermore, we are looking to host a Veterans Club Party to once again connect and rebuild the camaraderie that so many of us found during active service.

As a reminder, we will be seeking an Endorsement in Chula Vista City Council Seat 4, a reconsideration of Endorsement in San Diego City Council District 1, and Endorsement of H.R. 1292 to provide commissary access to any disable veteran. I ask that you come out, bring a friend, and let’s work together to not only advance veteran causes, but democratic values region wide.

Thank you and look forward to seeing everyone on the 20th!

Matthew Rice