CHAIRMAN:  Jim Pauls, Col, USAF (Ret), keydetman@aol.com

VICE-CHAIRMAN:  Dr Bill Tunner, btunner33@gmail.com

Charley Burch, Lt Col,USAF (Ret)
Joe Syslo, Col, USAF (Ret)
Ron Smith, COL, USA (Ret)
Stan Gorrell, LTC, USA, (Ret)
John Harms, COL, USMC (Ret)

Virginia state (commonwealth) legislative issues are worked through the Joint Leadership Council (JLC) of Veterans Service Organizations (VSO).  MOAA is one of the larger VSOs, and through the Virginia Council of Chapters takes a leadership role in establishing objectives.  Each year objectives are established so that the VSOs are speaking with one voice on state legislative issues.

State legislative objectives can be found on the VCOC MOAA website, VirginiaMOAA.com, in state legislative section (you may use this link) http://virginiamoaa.com/statelegislative/objectivescurrentyear.html

From the Chairman

Nothing has changed in Congress from what was reported last month because they decided to pass an interim “Continuing Resolution” Appropriations Bill which will, as MOAA National observed, “Leave Government on Idle” until December 9th. As a consequence, such major issues for the Department of Defense such as strength levels, the pay increase, and proposed changes to military and retiree Health Care are still up in the air. On a more positive note, however, the “Continuing Resolution” did provide for FULL funding for the VA for the remainder of FY 2017 and advance funding for FY 2018 to allow planned improvements in benefits claims processing and medical research. Congress must return after the elections for a “lame duck” session to conclude
negotiations to fund the Government for the remainder of FY2017!

On Wednesday, October 5th, Col Boyd Nix and Col Jim Pauls traveled to Richmond for a Quarterly Meeting of the Virginia Council of Chapters. Highlights of the meeting included:

  • A presentation by the new Director of the MOAA National Government Relations office, Col Dan Merry, USAFRet, who gave an update on the some of the major issues they are tackling now and in the immediate future. He mentioned that they are optimistic that both House and Senate conferees appear to now support a 2.1% pay raise instead of the 1.6% the Obama Administration wanted; it appears the House recommendation to extend a monthly payment of $310 to SBP-DIC recipients for one more year will get approved; and there is consensus not to impose any new “Premiums” for individuals currently enrolled in Tricare For Life – although he did indicate there seems to be consensus to establish “Premiums” for those under Age 65 who are not yet enrolled in TFL.
  • A presentation by Ms. Beverly Van Tull, who was recently hired by the state Veterans Department of Veterans Services to coordinate the implementation of the recently approved “Military Medics and Corpsmen (MMAC) program which was approved and funded by the State Legislature this year. The program is designed to expedite the time it takes former military members who served as Medics or Corpsmen to obtain the necessary accreditation and certification to become more expeditiously employed in the civilian arena where there is an ever-increasing demand for individuals with these skills. Ms. Tull’s office has arranged “partnerships” with 6 major Health Care Providers throughout the State, to include INOVA, Chesapeake Regional, and Bon Secours in this area, for this initiative. Virginia is the first state in the Nation to implement this type of initiative and their goal is to establish an effective way for Virginia’s health care providers to gain access to the 11,000 medics and corpsmen who separate from the military every year to satisfy what is becoming a critical shortage of individuals with the skill these individuals have obtained while in the military.  Presentation

Representative Wittman emphasized the need for “constituency activism and feedback”! So we all need to do our part. Here are email addresses for our Senators and House Representatives who represent the Districts within our chapter’s geographical boundaries. Please take a few minutes to contact them!:

Senator Warner: www.warner.senate.gov : click on “Contact Us” button on Top Right of web page and, when asked about “Comment ID” use the “Defense” topic.

Senator Kaine: www.kaine.senate.gov : click on “Contact Him” at top of page, use “Military/Armed Services/Defense” topic heading.

Rep Rob Wittman: www.wittman.house.gov : follow instructions

Rep Bobby Scott: www.scott.house.gov : follow instructions

Rep Scott Rigel: www.rigel.house.gov: follow instructions

Sign up for National MOAA Weekly Legislative Updates at their webpage.