Orv and Bev Otterness, members of the American Legion and Auxiliary from North Branch, were in Washington D.C. recently lobbying for issues that affect American war veterans and the military.
Orv, a member of the national American Legion Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Council, a Bev, a Past Department President in Minnesota, were part of a delegation of 35 Minnesotans in Washington.
The delegation met with nearly every Minnesota Representative and Senator, and urged an agenda of veterans programs that Congress will be dealing with in the future.
Included in the lobbying efforts were:
• Keep the military strong. The American Legion supports a superior national defense and believes the troops should be protected from government cuts.
• End the VA claims backlog. The Legion strongly supports the administration’s goal of ending the backlog by 2015. At the present time, however, there are still 300,000 claims that have been waiting for over 125 days.
•Protect benefits and health care. The expected drawdown of American forces will create a number of new veterans eligible for benefits and VA care. A static budget will not sustain the level of care and assistance required.
The delegation spent four days in Washington and attended informational sessions on critical issues. There are 85,000 members about 560 posts in the Minnesota American Legion.