“During my time in the Army, I 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.”
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 was uniquely positioned to lead Maryland’s efforts to support our Veterans. During his term as Lieutenant Governor, 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;
- 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 and their family members 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 Anthony’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.
Anthony led the State of Maryland on the following initiatives:
Creating Better Opportunities for Veterans to Enter the Workforce or Start a Business: During his term as Lieutenant Governor, Anthony led a series of initiatives designed to help our returning Veterans enter the workforce:
- Veterans Full Employment Act - In 2013, Anthony led the effort to pass the Veterans Full Employment Act to remove 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, Anthony established a No-Interest Loan Program to help Service Disabled Veterans launch new businesses and create jobs.
- Mil2FedJobs web portal – Under Anthony’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.
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 Anthony’s leadership, Maryland expanded the Veterans Service Program which assists Veterans and eligible dependents in acquiring their benefits. By opening three new field offices and moving the Prince George’s County office to a more accessible location, the program saw 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.
Supporting Veterans Health and Housing: As a Colonel in the Army Reserve who served a tour of duty in Iraq, Anthony 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 Anthony’s leadership 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’s 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.
- Maryland Homefront: the Veterans and Military Family Mortgage Program – Anthony established the Veterans and Military Family Mortgage Program, which gives qualified current and former military members a discounted mortgage interest rate and ensures that Veterans and their families have access to secure, affordable housing opportunities.. 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: Anthony 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. During Anthony’s term as Lieutenant Governor, the program distributed more than $5 million in scholarships to our Veterans.
- Maryland Campus Compact for Student Veterans – Championed and convened by Anthony in January of 2011, the Maryland Campus Compact, was signed by twenty-one of Maryland’s community colleges and public four-year universities 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.