John Kerry: Let’s Mean Business on Vets Aid

As we keep hearing the rhetoric from the Bush Administration about how they support the troops, when push comes to shove, we also keep hearing the truth… The Bush Administration repeatedly has left America’s Vets returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, high and dry, in so many ways. America’s economy is suffering under BushCo, and Veterans who own small businesses are suffering, as John Kerry points out in this OP/ED from the Boston Herald on Friday:

Let’s mean business on vets aid

When Army National Guardsman Dave Krasner returned to Boston from Iraq in 2005, he did everything right. He applied to the federal government for help keeping his consulting business afloat despite having lost clients and income while he was risking life and limb overseas.

Despite his service, Krasner was denied a small business loan. His credit took a hit due to a smaller military paycheck. After nearly two years of fighting to keep his business open, he closed it and moved to Louisiana where he’s making a living but no longer living the American dream of owning his own business.

That’s not how it’s supposed to be. After our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters put their lives on hold to serve their country and risk their lives for our national security, the least we can do is work to ensure their well being and economic security.

The Bush administration has not done nearly enough to provide a safety net for veterans and reservists who own a small business or are self-employed. What’s sorely lacking is a comprehensive, coordinated effort by federal agencies to help veterans and reservists get the business counseling, training and financial assistance they need to ensure their businesses are a success when they return.

Earlier this month, the Senate passed legislation I wrote with Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) that will not only help reservists keep their businesses afloat while they’re deployed, but also expand business opportunities for them in the future. Specifically, our bill creates national transition teams that would provide managerial, financial, planning and technical resources through a network of existing centers such as the UMass-Boston Small Business Development Center, the Northeast Veterans Business Resource Center and the Center for Women and Enterprise.

We establish a governmental task force with representatives from the Small Business Administration, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Labor and the General Services Administration to focus on coordinating all federal resources available for veterans and reservists.

And we also expand access to capital. We improve the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loans – a program I created back in 1999, but which the administration has failed to promote to reservists. Our bill gives reservists more time to apply, increases the size of the loans they can receive, allows soldiers to have loans approved before they deploy and demands that agencies develop an aggressive outreach plan.

Merely offering these small business benefits does no good if vets aren’t aware of them – and based on a January hearing, they aren’t.

Mark Aldrich, an Iraq veteran who owns a small business in Byfield, grew so frustrated by the lack of information he and his fellow reservists received before he deployed that he started the Veterans Business Group to serve as a clearinghouse of helpful information.

Aldrich’s initiative and Krasner’s departure from Massachusetts should be a wake-up call for the White House to work with Congress to finally address the glaring needs of our veterans and reservists.

Supporting our troops means more than just providing them with the equipment they need while in harm’s way. It also means giving them the tools they need to succeed in business once they come home.

Enough is Enough. It’s time for a change.

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6 Responses to John Kerry: Let’s Mean Business on Vets Aid

  1. Connie says:

    Kerry just keeps proving that he is the definition of a true leader — one who has a vision of how this democracy should work for every segment of its population and then he follows through with appropriate legislative action. Those now running this country have proven that they are in it to take very good care of themselves –and that’s about it.

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  3. mbk says:

    Connie, I agree with you. The thing that really distinguishes Kerry from almost all other politicians is that politics for him is not about power or career advancement, but about making our country, and our world, a better place. How I wish that these qualities were not so rare. How I wish that more people understood how truly special Kerry is; how I wish that more would value Kerry for the rare gifts he brings to the political arena,

  4. john stone says:

    I am in strong agreement with previous posts.
    John Kerry is a great Senator and would have been a GREAT President! I sure wish he was President today!
    Don’t you?

  5. green bean says:

    JK has been taking punches from all sides since 2004. Blame is on him no matter how unintentional and unsubstantial he is in the circumstances. Not all democrats are natural leaders, in fact most of them never have and probably never will come to his defense when mishaps happen. Republicans know that and they also acknowledge his abilities, if only they can shut him up. Endorsing a candidate makes himself a target. It may generate some artificial excitements for one or two days. It is an invisible restriction which limits what he can say and fight for out loud. THK has once said back in 2005, “….without 06, 08 will be impossible” at an event in Seattle. And after 06, democrats are much more positioned, their fans and supporters are poised and energized. Empowering a candidate’s is the plan, the only plan. However it will be vulnerable to ridicule, artificial conflicts and spicy controversies. Republicans might as well make use of the opportunity to get to the candidate he endorsed, or vice versa. A gift keeps on giving. JK is running for re-election, and to have his hands tied up is not good for his platform and his own campaign. Surprise but not unexpected things happen everyday in this dangerous world of ours, making it more and more complicated to simplify and solidify messages. A political illiterate like myself can see politics only in black and white. So may I ask ‘What is democracy?’ Can people have freedom without democracy? All the problem spots in the world are mostly under one party rule. Bush administration and coalition brought freedom to Afghan people, but their house of representatives is an entity of voices. There is no moral responsibility obligated to a government corrupt on all levels, but there is an undenialable neutral interest among global communities not to have al-Qaeda foothold anywhere. Bush administration also brought freedom to the Iraqis. Iraq also has a house of representatives, an entity of many voices talking at the same time in the same room. What would you do if America has only one Bush and his one party? Freedom is the first step toward democracy, but freedom is not democracy. And terrorists like al-Qaeda which operate within no boundary seem to take advantage of the anger generated from the one-party system. Iran, Russia, Pakistan, are they leaders or terrorists? Hamas, Hezbollah,Taliban, are they terrorists or dissents? People from the bottom up do not understand democracy overnight. In a no-nonsense region, education makes more sense than bullets and bombs.

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