Veterans First Graphic

Helping our veterans who have served our state and nation so well — and often at great personal sacrifice — as well as those serving now is exactly what two recently announced programs from the state and federal governments do.

On the state level, House Bill 391, which passed unanimously in the 2019 legislative session, created the "Veterans First" initiative to promote veteran-owned businesses.

And on the federal level, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has joined with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's "Hiring Our Heroes" initiative to support military spouse employment at the VA and throughout the federal government.

The "Veterans First" program allows veterans, active-duty personnel, Gold Star families and reserve-military business owners to complete a certification process, overseen by Louisiana Economic Development and the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs, which will add their business to a publicly searchable data-base at www.LAVeteransFirst.org. The site already has about 250 businesses listed.

"I applaud it. I think the business owners or even the governments need to continually seek out those veterans," said Thomas Green, Veterans Coalition of Lake Charles chairman.

The "Hiring Our Heroes" program will help veterans and military families and help reduce the high unemployment rate for military spouses.

"This type of intergovernmental collaboration to promote hiring and retention of military spouses is important not only for current servicemen and women and their families, but also for veterans and their families," said VA secretary Robert Wilkie. "Military spouses bring a unique perspective to the federal workplace, and I am proud that VA is leading the charge in this area."

The effort will encourage both the use of the military spouse hiring authority, as well as federal government participation in the Department of Defense's "Military Spouse Employment Partnership."

These state and federal efforts will encourage both the use of veteran owned-businesses, as well as supporting our veterans and military families. The programs also strengthen our military and likewise our national defense by helping those who have served as well as those currently serving to keep us safe and free.

More from this section

  • Updated

The devastating death toll in the nation’s nursing homes has given new emphasis on possible alternatives for the care of the country’s senior citizens. Nationally, the death toll in nursing homes has been about a third of all reported COVID-19 deaths, and it has been 40 percent in Louisiana.

  • Updated

Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reform has proven to be one of the most controversial and divisive programs in the government. With reform legislation now bogged down, the big question is can or should it be continued at all.

Louisiana's child day care owners believe they are going to have a difficult time getting a number of their teachers to return to work when allowed under federal guidelines. Their teachers, who make an average of $8.95 per hour during normal times, are receiving about $20 per hour, thanks to…

Part of the government's COVID-19 response program is the USDA's Farmers to Family Food Box program, which is helping both farmers and families during the pandemic.

The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) started listing the names of individual nursing homes with all of their coronavirus statistics on May 18, but the report doesn't cover assisted living facilities. Families of residents in those facilities don't understand why they aren't just as impor…

  • Updated

The presidents of Tulane University and LSU are convinced the reopening of university campuses this fall is vital to the continued recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Mike Fitts, president of Tulane, and Tom Galligan, interim president of LSU, expressed their views in a guest commentary …