DFL candidate for governor Tim Walz outlined a roster of proposals Thursday that he said would improve care for military veterans and honor their service, voicing concern that veterans’ issues are getting overlooked in the campaign.
Walz, a congressman from southern Minnesota, is one of three candidates seeking his party’s nomination in the Aug. 14 primary.
In laying out his latest plan, Walz said he would:
- Prioritize state funding for veterans homes, including money to operate three new facilities that depend on federal assistance to get built.
- Expand expand special courts that deal with criminal cases involving some veterans.
- Increase funding to county veterans service officers who work with veterans to apply for benefit and connect them with programs when they’re in crisis.
- Reduce some state fees for disabled veterans beyond the free hunting and fishing licenses issued now to those with a full service-connected disability.
“We’re going to make sure that our veterans see that this state honors them by increasing access to outdoors activities for disabled American veterans,” Walz said on a conference call with reporters. “That’s reducing hunting and fishing licenses for folks to get out there.”
Walz was a high-ranking Army National Guard member prior to becoming a congressman. He has about four months left in his final term in Washington, where he serves as the top Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. He said would keep pressing for the federal dollars required to build the veterans homes in Bemidji, Montevideo and Preston.
If they get built, Walz said the next governor will have to make sure there is state money to run them.
“People seem to think that things come for nothing,” Walz said. “There’s not going to be a question. We are going to fund these.”