Raye Addresses American Legion Convention in Bangor, 6/16
Office of the Maine Senate President
State House Station 3
Augusta, Maine 04333
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2012
RAYE ADDRESSES AMERICAN LEGION CONVENTION IN BANGOR
BANGOR, June 16, 2012 – Maine Senate President Kevin Raye addressed the state conventions of the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary in Bangor on Saturday, offering greetings on behalf of the Maine Senate.
“I believe this Legislature will go down in history as one of the most productive and consequential Legislatures of our lifetimes,” said the Senate President, recalling that one of the first acts of the 125th Legislature upon being seated after the 2010 election, was to approve Raye’s proposal to rename the committee that deals with veterans’ issues to emphasize the importance of Maine’s veterans.
“The longstanding Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee became the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee as a way of signaling that our veterans come first,” Raye said, to applause.
Raye went on to note a number of measures enacted by the 125th Legislature, including laws to:
· ensure that unclaimed remains of any deceased veteran will be properly laid to rest with the honor and dignity they are due;
· provide for a special veterans driver’s license to prove eligibility for any privileges or services available to veterans;
· establish a new Gold Star Family license plate to honor and memorialize the ultimate sacrifice made by so many of our heroic service members;
· create partnerships designed to help remedy and prevent homelessness among veterans in Maine;
· establish Vietnam War Remembrance Day on March 30th of each year;
· require the Bureau of Veterans' Services to bring stakeholders together to develop a plan for the inventory and proper care of veterans' graves;
· rename Route 1-A between Brewer and Ellsworth as the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway;
· direct the Commissioner of Professional and Financial Regulation to recommend legislation to assist current and former members of the United States Armed Forces in obtaining professional licenses in Maine related to their training and experience; and
· exempt from Maine income tax active duty military pay earned outside of Maine after January 1, 2014.
“It has been an honor to have the opportunity to stand with Maine’s veterans these past 8 years,” said Raye. “During World War II, my late father was a radio operator in the Army Air Corps, flying ‘the Hump’ in the CBI Theater, and my 86 year-old father-in-law was an infantryman in the European Theater. My older brother served in Vietnam, and my first job out of college was as a caseworker in Congresswoman Snowe’s office, where I worked to help veterans deal with Togus and the VA.”
“In the last years of my Dad’s life, I drove him from Washington County to his medical appointments at Togus, and sat in waiting rooms with veterans and wounded warriors from every conflict from World War II to Desert Storm. Those experiences helped shape me, and it is my firm belief that any elected official who does not stand with our troops and honor the solemn covenant that exists between our nation and our veterans is unfit for public service,” said Raye.
Raye recalled attending a ceremony in the State House Hall of Flags where the dog tags of nine Maine soldiers were added to a memorial to those who have given their lives in service to the nation.
“Seated before us were the wives, mothers, fathers, children, and other loved ones of these nine heroes. Their faces – etched with pain – reminded all of us of the deeply personal nature of war and the terrible human cost of the freedoms we so often take for granted. And it was a sober reminder of why we must always honor and never for a moment forget the sacrifice of our military members and our veterans,” said Raye.
“Today – this very day – in Dexter, family, friends and grateful neighbors gather to lay to rest another Maine hero – Captain Jay Brainard. Another promising life cut far too short and dreams unfulfilled, as he laid down his life in service to the cause of freedom. May God rest his soul and the souls of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Raye concluded.
Kevin Raye is the 114th President of the Maine Senate, having been elected unanimously to the post in December 2010. He is the first Senator from Washington County elected to the post since 1932.
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