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The character of a Nation is within its people.

Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

Our men and women in uniform have courageously defended our country for more than 250 years and continue to do so to this day. Along with our Nation’s history of patriotism and honor comes an expectation of commitment and care to our veterans long after they leave the battlefield.

This is where America’s character shines through.

The Veterans Affairs scandal is disappointing, to say the least. I have urged the federal government to fix these systemic problems. We need leadership in Washington that is helping our veterans, not hindering their support services.

America takes care of the men and women who have so bravely fought and sacrificed to defend the freedoms we share. As a people, it is our duty to demand our federal government follow through on its promises.

In Maine, we have the distinct honor of having one of the highest numbers of veterans by population among all states. We have nearly 128,000 veterans, each one deserving more than empty promises of accessible, quality health care.

Our Administration has worked hard to fight for veterans. We have enacted laws to ensure our veterans are given full credit for their military training and experience when they apply for an occupational license from the state.

We continue to provide workforce training to veterans through Maine’s CareerCenters. This week in Bangor, we’re inviting veterans to meet one-on-one with our staff to help them find a job. Career counselors will be on hand to help veterans apply for jobs in the trades and transfer military skills into civilian careers.

Our Administration thanks veterans for their service with more than words. We provide these services to show our appreciation and commitment for them.

I am also proud to say that when I took office in 2011, we reduced taxes on military pensions. We did so by increasing the income deduction to 10-thousand-dollars. We tried to further reduce taxes on military pensions during this past session, but my bill was killed along party lines.

We cannot give up on our veterans. They deserve better.

As President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

Our veterans fought to protect our freedoms. Now we must fight to protect the benefits and services they deserve. They have certainly earned it.

Thank you for listening.

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