Governor's weekly radio address

Honor, advocate for veterans

By Gov. Paul LePage | Nov 11, 2011

The following is text from the governor's Nov. 12, 2011, radio address. To listen, click the MP3 link below.

"Maine has one of the highest numbers of veterans per capita in the country.

Our history demonstrates Mainers have always answered the call of duty to defend our state and nation.

Hello. This is your Governor, Paul LePage.

Google the term “National Debt” and you’ll be kicked back more than 25 million websites. Most deal with the very serious issues of government overspending and the accumulation of more than two centuries of federal deficits. Yet very few bring up the biggest national debt of them all – that which America owes to her veterans.

On this Veteran’s Day, I ask you to honor the more than one million American men and women who have given their lives for their country since our nation’s founding.

Our debt to these heroes can never be re-paid but our gratitude and respect must last forever.

Maine’s First Lady is advocating for our veterans and families, making her cause the military and their loved ones.

Last week, Ann had the opportunity to meet the American Legion’s National Commander, Fang Wong, at the Blaine House.  He recently told Congress that it is not in the nature of America’s warriors to complain. Warriors endure. Warriors make do with less. Warriors finish the job, no matter how hard, no matter what is asked.

Warriors need advocates and that is why the various veteran’s organizations exists which are here to serve veterans, their families and our communities.

Our veterans deserve our support and that’s why Ann and I support all veteran organizations.

There’s no greater satisfaction than meeting Maine military heroes and their families.  Every month Ann and I invite service members, both past and present, to share dinner with us.  It is our way of saying “Thank you.”

You can show your support too simply by saying “Thank you” to the next veteran you meet.

You can show your support by hiring a veteran in your workplace, visiting a VA hospital or donating to a veterans program.

Companies should understand that it’s smart business to hire veterans, and when members of the Guard and Reserves deploy, it is America’s business to ensure that their civilian careers do not suffer.

To ensure our veteran’s have employment support, the Maine Department of Labor has Veteran Employment and Training staff. We have 13 members on the team including seven Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialists and six Local Veterans Employment Representatives.

This team provides direct assistance to veterans within 12 different CareerCenter offices and numerous community based sites across the state with a goal to outreach to virtually all areas across the state from Fort Kent in Aroostook County to Kittery and from Down East in Eastport across to Jackman in Western Maine.

This is an important program within DOL and if you are or know a veteran that would benefit, please contact the department.

Additionally, in January, I will propose dropping the income tax on military pensions. It is not only the right thing to do – it will keep some of our most valuable citizens from leaving our State.

We must ask ourselves as a nation, are we serving veterans even half as well as they have served us?

I am indebted to the families and service members who have given so much for this great country in the name of freedom.

We must remember them. We must appreciate them. God bless our veterans and God bless America."

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