AUGUSTA — On Friday, Governor Janet T. Mills joined Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, Senator Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop, and Aroostook County veterans and their families for a ceremonial bill signing at the Lister-Knowlton Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 9389 in Caribou. President Jackson invited Governor Mills and Senator Hickman, Senate Chair of the Legislature’s Veterans […]
Mills, Jackson announce Maine Veterans’ Home Board of Trustees’ votes to keep open homes in Caribou and Machias
For weeks, the veterans, their family members and the staff at the Maine Veteran’s Homes in Caribou and Machias have had to grapple with enormous uncertainty and mixed messages as the Legislature worked to pass legislation to save the two facilities. Today, folks can finally breathe a sigh of relief now that Governor Mills has signed LD 2001 into law and that the Board has reconsidered its closure vote. As we look to the future, we must continue working to ensure that the Maine Veterans’ Homes can continue serving veterans and their families in rural Maine.
In Augusta, politicians talk an awful lot about standing up for rural Maine, fighting for rural Maine and making sure rural Maine doesn’t get left behind. We often use the same lofty rhetoric to talk about our veterans. Today, with the help of Governor Mills, the Maine Legislature matched those words with action by passing LD 2001 and keeping our promise to Maine veterans. I’m so grateful to all of the veterans, family members and staff at the Maine Veterans’ Homes in Caribou and Machias who reached out and shared their stories. The fact that we were able to put a stop to this injustice is a testament to our community.
When the Maine Legislature established the Maine Veterans’ Homes, we made a commitment to the men and women serving in our nation’s armed forces to repay their service by making sure they could get the care they need in their later years. For 35 years, the state has kept this promise. To close these facilities now and move veterans out of their homes and away from their families for no good reason is simply unacceptable.
I’m so grateful that my colleagues in the Senate and House joined me in unanimously supporting LD 2001 on an initial vote. It’s only fitting that we would reaffirm our commitment to Maine veterans by taking this up on National Vietnam War Veterans Day. Now it’s time to get this bill across the finish line and stop the closure dead in its tracks.