WKTV’s Government Matters lists a sampling of news released by state and federal officials who represent the Wyoming and Kentwood areas. Among this week’s highlights are Sen. Stabenow nominating 45 students to the military academies and Sen. Peters voicing support for veterans as part of a new Department of Defense bill.
Sen. Stabenow nominates Kentwood student among 45 total in state to military academies
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow announced recently the nomination of 45 Michigan students for placement at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York.
Among those nominated, according to supplied material, were Jarrod Torr, of Kentwood, to the Naval Academy, as well as Grandville’s Luke Ensing and Connor Fischer, both to the West Point.
“Michigan is fortunate to have so many exceptional students who want to serve our country through military service,” Sen. Stabenow said in supplied material. “Having demonstrated a strong commitment to excellence in and out of the classroom, I am confident they will represent Michigan and our country well.”
Students seeking appointment to a service academy must first obtain the nomination of their U.S. Senator, their U.S. Representative, or the Vice President. Students nominated went through a highly competitive application process that included interviews by community leaders. Now that the students have been nominated, they must await acceptance for admission by the academy to which they have applied.
Sen. Peters supports defense bill with provisions for state’s veterans
On Dec. 8, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, a former Lt. Commander in the U.SA. Navy Reserve, helped pass a defense bill which advocates for a pay raise for service members, supports veterans suffering from mental trauma, and advocates for Michigan’s manufacturers and small businesses, according to a press release from the senator’s office.
The National Defense Authorization Act, which sets policy for the Department of Defense for fiscal year 2017, passed the House of Representatives, the senate and was then sent to the desk of President Barack Obama for signature.
Among other things, the bill included a 2.1 percent pay raise for service members and, according to supplied information, provides “the necessary tools and resources for our military while ensuring those suffering from the invisible wounds have the support they need after their service,” Sen. Peters said.
A provision helps veterans who may have been erroneously given a less than honorable discharge due to behavior resulting from metal traumas including PTSD. The Fairness for Veterans provision gives liberal consideration to petitions for changes in discharge status to honorable if the service member has been diagnosed with PTSD, TBI or related conditions in connection with their military service. A less than honorable discharge prevents veterans from accessing Post-9/11 GI Bill opportunities, VA home loans and other benefits. Michigan is home to more than 600,000 veterans, including 50,000 post-9/11 veterans.
Another part of the legislation requires the DoD provide American-made athletic footwear to new military recruits. DoD already applies this policy to uniforms and combat boots, but not athletic footwear. This legislation could boost manufacturers like Wolverine Worldwide with offices in Rockford, which produces Saucony athletic shoes and is a major manufacturer of footwear for the U.S. military.