By Senator Sal DiDomenico
Veterans Day is a time to honor those who have served in our armed forces and to reflect on the incredible sacrifices that our Veterans and their families have made for our country. I am proud of the military families in my own community, as well as the nearly 380,000 Veterans across the Commonwealth. The dedication with which our Veterans and their families serve our country cannot go unnoticed nor be diminished; not only have our Veterans protected our way of life here at home, citizens from around the world owe them a debt of gratitude as well.
These debts cannot be easily repaid, but as a Commonwealth we must always work to give back to our Veteran community by improving their health and wellbeing. As for my colleagues and I in the Legislature, it is our duty to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of Veterans that reside in the Commonwealth are able to access the first-class services that they rightfully deserve, and are able to enjoy productive lives and successful careers.
That is why I am sponsoring and supporting legislation that will support our Veterans and their families. This session, I am the lead sponsor of two Veterans bills that help to remove unnecessary hurdles and advance veterans’ civilian careers: “An Act establishing creditable service for Veterans” and “An Act relative to age restrictions for Veterans applying to be police officers and firefighters.”
“An Act relative to creditable service for Veterans” will allow Veterans to advance to the uppermost position in their job group after seven years of creditable service. Currently, many Veterans after receiving a job remain restricted to their entry positions and are unable to move forward in their respective fields. Gainful employment of Veterans is an issue that Massachusetts has been addressing for some time, and this crucial bill ensures that the Commonwealth’s Veterans can not only obtain a job after returning from service, but can also climb the ladder to career success.
“An Act relative to age restrictions for Veterans applying to be police officers and firefighters” excludes Veterans from the 32-year-old age restriction for application to become a firefighter or police officer provided they do not exceed the maximum age limit for enlistment into the U.S. Armed Forces. We should not add any additional barriers to employment for our Veterans, especially those who go on to pursue yet another career that is dedicated to protecting the safety of others. By passing these bills, we can ensure that our Veterans do not stall in their pursuit of a strong career.
In addition to sponsoring these bills, I am a co-sponsor of many other bills that my colleagues in the Legislature have filed in support of our Veterans and their families. As legislators, it should be a priority for us to ensure that the men and women who have dedicated their lives to keeping us safe are recognized for the years of service they have devoted to our country. In addition, we have to continue supporting our local Veterans Commissioners who assist our heroes each day with accessing services that they deserve. I know that my colleagues and I in the Legislature are dedicated to achieving that goal, and I look forward to making progress this legislative session for our Veterans and their families.
Senator Sal DiDomenico is Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and he has represented the Middlesex and Suffolk District since 2010