LETTER: Ed Martin is committed to veterans

Monday, June 18, 2012 | 4:48 p.m. CDT; updated 9:02 p.m. CDT, Monday, June 18, 2012

I write this letter in support of Missouri attorney general candidate Ed Martin’s “We Remember” initiative. As our next attorney general, Martin will be a committed advocate for veterans and active duty service members. With a brother in the U.S. Marine Corps, Ed Martin greatly supports the armed forces and appreciates what they do for the people of this state and the country. He understands the need for this support in Missouri within this office, which is presently absent.

Many states already have programs in place within the attorney general's office that support active duty service members and veterans. Ed Martin wants to lead the state of Missouri for this support. As a veteran of the United States Army for over 24 years, and most of that time served overseas, and an officer serving in the Pentagon's Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, with policy overview of veterans' education benefit programs, I know how important it is for state and local government to have programs in place that support veterans and their families, especially during deployments, or when families suffer serious mental or physical injury or loss as a result of their service.   

Through Martin’s program, he would be a legal advocate helping to organize services that benefit these men and women. Most notably, because of the increasing need for these services, Martin will focus on suicide prevention and mental health services, employment rights and consolidation of other services that service members and veterans receive including transition assistance to civilian life when they leave military service. Of course, these programs will require coordination with other state agencies, but Ed Martin will use his leadership to make these programs happen.

Meanwhile, Ed Martin continues to speak to veterans around the state sharing ideas, while getting input on these and other issues in an effort to learn what programs are needed most and how best to provide them.

I am thankful for Ed Martin's leadership on these veterans' issues. We need this kind of support in our state government. For these reasons, I support Martin’s “We Remember” proposals and support him in becoming the next attorney general of Missouri, and hope others will, too. I predict Missourians will not find him wanting in any respect.

Fred Berry is a retired colonel from Columbia.

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