AAVI Building funding bill passes committee

The Aberdeen Area Veterans (AAVI) building passed through the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee unanimously. Rep. Carl Perry and I testified on its behalf and I am excited to stand up for this important legislation.

It’s important that we give heroes who sacrifice so much for us the support they need, and the AAVI building is a good step in that direction. The total cost of the project will be $5.2 million. As currently proposed, slightly over half of the project will be funded locally by gifts and sponsorships.

Senate Bill 84 would appropriate $2.5 million toward the project and after its passage in Veterans Affairs, the next step will be a hearing in the Joint Appropriations committee.

The AAVI building will fill a void in our community. 5,000 veterans call Brown County their home, and while the VFW, American Legion, and other veteran organizations are very active, they do not have a building dedicated to veterans. It will also benefit veterans in Clark, Day, Edmunds, Marshall, McPherson and other area counties.

One major obstacle to connecting veterans to the benefits and help they need is making them aware they’re eligible. The AAVI will help solve this problem by creating a one stop shop where veterans can get the support they need like mental health treatment, job training, education opportunities, and much more.

The AAVI will also house offices for veteran organizations, serve as a meeting place for veterans to gather, and promote resources to treat unseen wounds and mental health disorders.

In the coming weeks, our committee hearings and House floor calendar will start filling up with many more bills. I would love to have the chance to discuss these issues with you before they come before us.

If you are able, please join me and other area legislators at the Cracker Barrell this Saturday January 30th, 10:00 AM at the Johnson Fine Arts Center in Aberdeen.