Anthony Brown’s Record of Real Results – Veterans
“I’ve had the privilege of serving with and leading some of the most patriotic men and women from all four corners of this country. From rural communities to big cities, we were mechanics and cooks, medics and clerks; we drove trucks and flew helicopters. And every so often we let ourselves believe that we were part of a noble cause, something bigger than what we did on any given day. We were the defenders of liberty and democracy, we were American Soldiers. Maryland’s nearly 454,000 Veterans and their families – men and women who have shown tremendous commitment and courage in defending our nation – deserve our support and I am proud of the work we’ve done together to honor their service.”
Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown
Progress: Having served for nearly three decades in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve, including a tour of duty in Iraq in 2005 and attaining the rank of Colonel, Anthony Brown has been uniquely positioned to lead Maryland’s efforts to support our Veterans. Over the past seven years, Maryland has:
- Passed legislation to help Veterans get jobs by converting their military skills, education, and training into college credits or an equivalent license or certificate;
- Opened three new field offices so that our Veterans can access the benefits they deserve;
- Created a no-interest loan program to help disabled Veterans start businesses and create jobs;
- Provided Veterans with additional support and access to behavioral health services;
- Passed legislation allowing Veterans to display their status on their driver’s licenses;
- Passed legislation creating a trust fund for private donations, which can be distributed to Veterans and family members in need;
- Established a mortgage assistance program with low interest rates to help Veterans and their families purchase a home; and
- Provided scholarships to our Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans who are returning to school.
Coming home is just the first step – we as Americans have a sacred obligation to ensure that our Veterans have the resources they need to get a good job, raise a family, strengthen our communities and join the middle class. Today, as a result of Lt. Governor Brown’s efforts, Maryland’s Veterans and their families, whether they served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan or any other conflict, have better access to the services and benefits they deserve.
Lt. Governor Anthony Brown has led the State of Maryland on the following initiatives:
Creating Better Opportunities for Veterans to Enter the Workforce or Start a Business: For the past seven years, Lt. Governor Brown has led a series of initiatives designed to help our returning Veterans enter the workforce. By eliminating barriers to employment, developing innovative ways for Veterans to find jobs and providing loans to help them start a business, Lt. Governor Brown has made a meaningful difference to help Maryland’s Veterans enter the workforce.
- Veterans Full Employment Act - In 2013, Lt. Governor Brown led the effort to pass the Veterans Full Employment Act. This legislation removed barriers to employment for Veterans – specifically, it made it easier for Veterans or their spouses to transfer their skills from the military to the civilian workforce by cutting through red tape. It also ensured that Veterans receive credit for their military training and experience when applying for occupational and professional licenses or when entering Maryland’s community colleges and universities.
- Military Personnel and Service Disabled Veteran No-Interest Loan Program - Standing up for our Veterans, Lt. Governor Brown established a No-Interest Loan Program to help Service Disabled Veterans launch new businesses and create jobs. During the last four years, several hundred thousand dollars in loans have been distributed to help our Veterans start their businesses.
- Mil2FedJobs web portal – Under Anthony Brown’s leadership, Maryland launched the Mil2FedJobs web portal, a first-of-its-kind initiative that matches Veterans military experience and occupation with federal job opportunities.
This year, Maryland established a new strategic goal to achieve “Full Employment for Maryland Veterans by the End of 2015.” To achieve this goal, we need to reduce Maryland’s Veterans unemployment rate from its 2012 level of 5 percent (which is already nearly two points below the national average) to 3 percent. By continuing to implement these and other initiatives and by partnering with the private and public sector we hope to secure a job for every Veteran in Maryland.
Connecting Veterans to their Benefits: Connecting Veterans, particularly those who have recently returned from tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the benefits they need and deserve to transition back into our communities is a sacred responsibility. That’s why, under Lt. Governor Brown’s leadership, Maryland has expanded the Veterans Service Program which assists Veterans and eligible dependents in acquiring their benefits. By opening three new field offices in Bel Air, Hagerstown and Salisbury, and moving the Prince George’s County office to a more accessible location, the program has seen an 86 percent increase in its contacts with our Veterans, a 54 percent increase in the number of claims filed and a 20 percent increase in the value of benefits claimed, which now exceeds $21 million. By proactively reaching out to our returning heroes, Maryland is keeping its promise to our Veterans.
Supporting Veterans Health and Housing: As a Colonel in the Army Reserve who served a tour of duty in Iraq, Anthony Brown understands that every Veteran and their family faces different challenges when returning home. That’s why Anthony established two important initiatives designed to assist Veterans with their health and housing needs.
- Maryland Commitment to Veterans – Not all battlefield injuries are physical, that’s why, under the leadership of Lt. Governor Brown in 2008, Maryland established the Maryland Commitment to Veterans initiative to help hundreds of Veterans and their families obtain or get connected to behavioral health services. This vital program includes connecting Veterans to mental health and substance abuse services, either with the State public health system or at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The initiative also provides a 24/7 call line, transportation for Veterans and families to their appointments and information and referrals related to employment, education, housing, and VA benefits. Since its creation, Maryland has provided $6.9 million for this initiative.
- Maryland Homefront: the Veterans and Military Family Mortgage Program – Our Veterans have made an incredible sacrifice in leaving their families behind to serve on our behalf. Through Maryland Homefront, we can help repay some of that debt by ensuring that they and their families have access to secure, affordable housing opportunities. That is why Anthony Brown established the Veterans and Military Family Mortgage Program, which gives qualified current and former military members a discounted mortgage interest rate. In addition, all qualified borrowers under the program are eligible to receive $10,000 for down payment and closing cost assistance through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s Down Payment and Settlement Expense Loan Program.
Supporting our Veterans in their Return to Campus and pursuit of Higher Education: Maryland owes its Veterans a debt of gratitude for their service to our nation, that’s why Lt. Governor Brown led the effort to provide scholarships and support services for Veterans returning to our colleges and universities.
- Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Scholarship Program – Established in 2006 by then Delegate Anthony Brown and Speaker Michael Busch, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Scholarship program was created to provide assistance for Veterans returning to our colleges and universities. Over the last six years, the program has distributed $4.3 million in scholarships to our Veterans.
- Maryland Campus Compact for Student Veterans – Championed and convened by Lt. Governor Brown in January of 2011, the Maryland Campus Compact, was signed by twenty-one of Maryland’s community colleges and public four-year universities Presidents in order to improve on-campus services for Veteran students. The Compact calls on Maryland’s higher education community to do more for the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Participating institutions pledged to designate an office or staff person for all student Veterans. The Compact also requires campus officials to provide training for faculty, staff and student leadership to promote greater awareness of Veteran issues.