2019-2020 National Legislative Ambassador
Legislative: Focus and Engaged
On January 3, 2020, the second half of the 116th United States Congress began. Simultaneously, the VFW has issued their 2020 Priority Goals for Congress, Veterans Affairs, and Department of Defense to act upon to improve the daily lives of veterans, military personnel, and their families. We, as VFW Auxiliary members are to remain valiant and advocate on their behalf.
VFW 2020 Priority Goals
- BUDGET: To fully fund programs for veterans, service members, and their families.
- HEALTH CARE: To ensure service members and veterans receive timely access to high-quality health care without increasing cost shares.
- DISABILITY ASSISTANCE & MEMORIAL AFFAIRS: To ensure veterans and their survivors have timely access to earned benefits.
- EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT & TRANSITION ASSISTANCE: To ensure veterans succeed after leaving military service.
- MILITARY QUALITY OF LIFE: To maintain a quality, comprehensive benefits and retirement package that is the backbone for an all-volunteer force.
- NATIONAL SECURITY, FOREIGN AFFAIRS & POW/MIA: To fully support service members and their mission to fight the war on terrorism, and protect our nation’s citizens and interests around the world
There are still six 2020 VFW Priority Goals with several strategy changes the supporting detail.
VFW Auxiliary Involvement in Elections and Political Activities
This is a good time for us to assess the needs for our veterans among the candidates running for governmental offices without politicizing them. It is important to know that the VFW and VFW Auxiliary are nonpartisan organizations. The VFW and VFW Auxiliary websites both have information that should be your guideline. Here are the Do’s and Don’ts:
- Do attend candidate Town Hall Meetings and other events and ask candidates where they stand on veterans issues.
- Do set up voter registration drives/Get out the Vote Campaigns on the local level.
- Do provide carpool service on Election Day to help the elderly and disabled get to the voting booth.
- Do support and work for your favorite candidates as a voting constituent.
- Do wear clothing/pins with the VFW Auxiliary emblem at public events such as town halls, rallies, forums and/or debates.
- Don’t endorse candidates on behalf of the VFW Auxiliary National Organization, Department, District or Auxiliary.
- Don’t wear your VFW Auxiliary cap when actively campaigning for a candidate, such as soliciting donations or knocking on doors asking people to pledge their vote for a candidate.
It does not matter which candidate(s) you support as long as they know you are a VFW Auxiliary member and concerned about veterans, our military personnel, and their families. The key is to stay informed on the issues and use your influence to urge new candidates and those up for re-election to support the VFW, VFW Auxiliary and veterans issues.
2020 VFW Legislative Conference
The 2020 VFW Legislative Conference is scheduled for Sunday, March 1 through Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Washington, D.C. William “Doc” Schmitz, the VFW National Commander-in-Chief will testify before the Veterans Affairs Committee. This important event sets the tone for the year. Many relevant questions and answers are part of this testimony, and the knowledge you can gather from it is extremely valuable in your work on the Legislative Program. You are encouraged to attend. If you cannot be there in person, be sure to watch the live stream on the VFW website.
Be an Informed Veterans’ Advocate
- Sign-up for the “VFW Action Corps Weekly” or contact your Auxiliary President for assistance.
- Participate when you receive an “Action Alert”. With the Action Alert template provided, it takes less than two minutes to let your legislators know your opinion about the bill in question.
- Be involved in your local political process; introduce yourself to city council members, your town’s mayor, and your state representatives and senators. Remember that all politics are local!
VFW Auxiliary members can make a difference in any election by getting involved in the political process.
- Access the brochure “Veterans Vote: A How to Guide to Getting Involved in the Election Process.”
- Stay informed by reviewing the VFW’s Legislative Priority Goals.
- If you have questions, please contact the VFW at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the spirit of “Serving our Veterans with Aloha,” your focus and engagement are essential to ensuring an adequate VA system is available in the future for our veterans, military personnel and their families. Thanks for all you do!