Norwich Bulletin: Courtney, state VA commissioner visit Norwich to meet with veteran leaders
NORWICH — U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D- Conn.) visited Norwich on Monday to assure local veteran leaders that efforts to address their needs are moving forward.
Courtney hosted veterans representing several area organizations for a monthly veterans advisory board meeting at his district office in Norwich. In attendance at the meeting was the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs Thomas J. Saadi, who addressed the group with updates from his department and responded to questions.
Specifically, Courtney spoke about current issues that he said are important for Norwich area veterans, including declaring his strong opposition to a July 12 policy change from the Department of Defense that will prevent service members with greater than 16 years of service from transferring their Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits to eligible family members.
“To scale back this benefit, it’s really blindsiding to people,” Courtney said.
Courtney said that he, along 82 other members of Congress, sent a letter to secretary of defense James Mattis calling on the Department of Defense to abandon the policy change.
“I’ve seen many men and women who served who already have their education,” Saadi said. “It has been an extraordinary thing for them to be able to transfer that benefit, one time, to their spouse or dependent, to help that family, because the family serves with those who serve”
Courtney also spoke about a piece of legislation he sponsored in July that seeks to amend current legislation that requires veterans exposed to Agent Orange to report symptoms for certain attributed diseases within one year of their last date of service in Vietnam.