Jacobs takes action to aid veterans

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Senator Mike Jacobs (D-Moline) passed a resolution through the Senate today that urges cable companies to look into creating a veterans cable access channel.  This channel would be used to provide our veterans with information regarding social, material and psychological support in their local communities.  

“When our service men and women come back from their deployment overseas it can be difficult for them to find the information they need to access necessary services,” stated Senator Jacobs.  “By putting in place a veterans’ cable access channel, the State of Illinois would have one place where veterans could go to find services and get the information they need when they get back from active duty.”

The proposal in this resolution, Senate resolution 352, is that the cable channel would operate as a non-for-profit enterprise managed by partnerships with broadcasting education programs at Illinois learning institutions; veteran-focused organizations like the VFW, American Legion, and AMVETS; and public-private partnerships to provide funding support.

AMVETS Legislative Director Ray Kelley testified in 2003 before the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs voicing AMVETS' support for a bill introduced by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Veterans Outreach Improvement Act (S. 315). The Veterans Outreach Improvement Act would authorize funding for extensive VA outreach programs that would leverage different levels of government and non-profit organizations, such as VSOs, in informing veterans of their entitlements.

According to a 2003 U.S. General Accounting Office report, more than half of all reservists surveyed by the Defense Department either thought family support services were not available to them or did not know what services were provided. For example, 68 percent of reservists did not know whether financial counseling for family members existed on or near military installations. Nearly 20 percent believed the counseling was unavailable.

“This resolution will start the process of dialogue between veteran service agencies and the Cable Television and Communications Association to determine if creating a public access network for our veterans is attainable in Illinois,” stated Senator Jacobs.