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IAVA releases voter guide on veterans issues

Oct. 2, 2012 - 09:55AM   |   Last Updated: Oct. 2, 2012 - 09:55AM  |  
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A major veterans group has issued a election scorecard for its members to use to decide whether candidates for federal office support initiatives important to returning combat veterans.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which released the voters' guide Tuesday, is trying to push candidates to take positions on what the group says are important issues, particularly to post-9/11 veterans. These include employment, education, mental health, disability and benefits claims processing, and female veterans health care.

The scorecard http://iava.org/election-2012-iavas-voter-guide">can be downloaded at IAVA.org.

"Our country cannot afford to elect candidates who think a ‘thank you for your service' is enough," IAVA founder and executive director Paul Rieckhoff said in a statement. "Every single voter should look for commitment, leadership and transparency on behalf of the 2.5 million veterans of this generation, whether you have served or not."

The scorecard, which IAVA suggests could be used to compare candidates' positions, looks at details rather than broad statements of support for veterans. For example, on employment, it asks if a candidate supports:

• Programs to help transfer military skills into equivalent civilian licenses.

• Making military transition assistance programs available to veterans.

• Improving employment and re-employment rights.

• Using their political influence to encourage businesses to hire veterans.

On education, the scorecard rates candidates on whether they would protect GI Bill education benefits from budget cuts, help students pick schools by making available more consumer-oriented information and prevent for-profit schools from using funds from veterans education programs to pay for marketing and lobbying.

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