Nearly 400,000 military veterans call Minnesota home. We are proud to have them. Our veterans have bravely answered the call to service. From the Battle of Gettysburg to Iraq and Afghanistan, Minnesotans have fought to protect our country and our freedoms. Many of Minnesota’s veterans don’t stop serving when they leave the military either.
In 2013, Governor Mark Dayton signed new legislation to help our veterans make the transition. The new reform makes it easier for active duty service members to transition into jobs on the police force. The bill allows military service members to take a police officer reciprocity exam while they are on active duty. Previously, service members were only allowed to take the reciprocity exam after they were honorably discharged. This change allows men and women in the Armed Forces to move into civilian service without a long delay in employment.
You can find more Pink Tank Project videos on the Minnesota National Guard's YouTube page here
To build breast cancer awareness for all women, the Minnesota National Guard has launching the Pink Tank Project this month for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
"Improving wellness in our service members aligns with our priorities and the Pink Tank Project assists in keeping us a competent and ready force," said Army Maj. Gen. Richard C. Nash, Minnesota National Guard's Adjutant General.
"This project is to build breast cancer awareness for all women whether they wear the uniform or not," said Army Maj. Kristen L. Auge, Minnesota National Guard's Deputy Director of Public Affairs. "The Pink Tank Project is a promise - a promise to yourself to conduct monthly self-breast exams and have mammograms as recommended by your health care provider."
"Three women with ties to the Minnesota National Guard and whose lives have been forever changed by breast cancer are featured in this project," said Aug?. "Throughout the month, their stories and a special breast cancer awareness video will launch on the Minnesota National Guard's Pink Tank Project webpage."
Photo Credit: Minnesota National Guard.
Providing military funerals is one way we show our gratitude to those who, in times of war and peace, have faithfully defended our country. This year, Governor Mark Dayton and the legislature provided new funding for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs’ funeral honor guard.
In recent years, funding for the honor guard has wavered. In 2011, the guard wasn’t funded and was only continued by shifting resources from other Veterans Affairs’ resources. Veterans regularly cite the funeral honor guard as one of the top benefits of military service making continued support for this program all the more essential.
Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs unveiled a newly redesigned website.In our continuing effort to be in the forefront of providing the best service and care to our state’s Veterans, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs unveiled a newly redesigned website. Nearly 370,000 Veterans call Minnesota home and they can now access information through this comprehensive and exciting new resource at MinnesotaVeteran.org.
The MPCA is a major partner of Clean Air Minnesota’s Project Green Fleet (PGF). Since it began in 2005, PGF has worked with school districts and school bus fleet operators to retrofit buses with Diesel Oxidation Catalysts and closed crankcase filtration systems.
After two years in office, Governor Mark Dayton is continuing to make important progress toward building a Better Minnesota.
One crucial measure of that progress is improving the health of Minnesotans, which is essential to a high quality of life in Minnesota. Governor Dayton is pursuing a variety of strategies to improve the health of individuals, families, and communities across our state, including increasing access to high quality, affordable health insurance and promoting strong community health programs. The Dayton Administration is focused on improving the quality of life for all Minnesotans, and lowering the cost of health care in our great state of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has worked to reduce diesel emission in school buses, snowplows, fire trucks, and other large vehicles. Emissions retrofits on school buses alone have improved air quality for nearly 85,000 kids in 91 school districts statewide.
In 2012, MPCA focused on reducing diesel emission in long-haul semi-trucks. At current fuel prices, retrofits made to 282 vehicle engines, and reduced idling on 155 trucks, will save trucking companies $600,000 each year in fuel costs. Health benefits derived from these emissions reductions are estimated to total $123.5 million.
Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon recently visited the 148th Fighter Wing in Duluth, Minnesota and experienced the full-workings of the facility, including a tour, safety and survival skills training. The visit culminated in a ride in an F-16 Fighter Jet. The Lieutenant Governor donned an anti-gravity suit, or G suit, and rode in the F16, experiencing complex aerial maneuvers – even taking the wheel at one point.
The Lieutenant Governor said she was impressed with “the precision, expertise and professional capabilities of both ground and air personnel” and that she feels “confident that Minnesota has a superior National Guard”.
Rendering for new homeless veterans supportive housing development on the VA Medical Campus in St. Cloud
The Dayton Administration recently announced a $20.4 million Minnesota Housing Finance project that will help homeless veterans find support and housing. The grant will create nearly 100 units of permanent supportive rental housing for veterans who have experienced homelessness. In St. Cloud, the funding will create 35 new housing units on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical campus and another 58 units will be created by renovating five historic buildings at Fort Snelling's upper post in Minneapolis.
The veterans housing developments are part of $134 million in housing awards from Minnesota Housing to build, preserve and support affordable housing across the state. These developments were made possible in part by the 2012 bonding bill, which included $30 million in Housing Infrastructure bond proceeds, including more than $9 million to build the veterans developments.
“From rehabilitating historic buildings at Fort Snelling for homeless veterans to preserving critical affordable housing in greater Minnesota, we are able to help fill critical gaps in housing,” said Minnesota Housing Commissioner Mary Tingerthal. “The impact of the total leverage created by the $134 million housing investment will create more than 4,500 jobs and will assist nearly 3,100 households across the state.”