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Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs Agenda and Presentations | 2018 Legislative Summit

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Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018 | Los Angeles, Calif.

The Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs met Aug. 1-3, 2018 in conjunction with NCSL's Legislative Summit. The meetings on Aug. 1-2 were held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The Veterans State Leaders Summit, hosted by the Veterans Campaign on Aug. 3, was held at the University of Southern California.

The task force was created in 2007 to address issues affecting military-community relations and the health and well-being of veterans. The task force consists of 57 state legislators and legislative staff from 32 states.

Home Base: State Policy Options to Support the Military and Your Economy

Even though military installations are federally owned and operated, state and local governments are critical to the success of the military mission. Speakers shared tools, best practices and lessons learned in the establishment and sustainment of an effective, collaborative relationship between the state and military.

Presiding: Representative Tom Sloan, Kansas


  • Tim Ford, chief executive officer, Association of Defense Communities | Presentation
  • Ron Tickle, executive director, DoD Siting Clearinghouse, U.S. Department of Defense | Presentation
  • Joe Knott, director of Military Partnerships, Compatible Lands Foundation | Presentation

Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018

NCSL Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs Meeting

Opening Remarks by Task Force Co-Chair:

  • Representative Tina Orwall, Washington

Pledge of Allegiance

Introductions of Task Force Members and Guests

NCSL Staff Updates

Federal Agency Military and Veterans Affairs Roundtable

Presiding: Michael J. Behm, co-CEO and principal, Stateside Associates

This session offered an overview of the federal agencies with jurisdiction over military and veterans affairs. Task force members learned what these federal offices do for service members, veterans and military installations and opportunities that may exist for greater state-federal cooperation.


  • Fred Drummond, deputy assistant secretary of defense (Force Education and Training), U.S. Department of Defense | No Presentation
  • Jaime Simon, deputy program director, Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration (REPI) Program, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Energy, Installations and Environment), U.S. Department of Defense | No Presentation
  • Tara Butler, program director for Intergovernmental Affairs/Policy Advisor, Office of Economic Adjustment, U.S. Department of Defense | No Presentation
  • Thayer Verschoor, executive director, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs | No Presentation
  • Mike Reardon, supervisory policy advisor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labo | Presentation
  • Thomas Hinton, associate director, National Operations, Defense State Liaison Office, Under Secretary of Defense (P & R), ODASD, Military Community and Family Policy, U.S. Department of Defense | Presentation

Introduction to Veterans Campaign

Sponsored by Veterans Campaign

Presiding: Representative Tina Orwall, Washington

Veterans Campaign is a nonpartisan organization whose mission is to encourage, mentor and prepare veterans, transitioning service members, and affiliates of the military community to pursue a “second service” in civic and political leadership.


  • Norm Bonnyman, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Veterans Campaign | No Presentation
  • Alex Cornell du Houx, public affairs advisor, Veterans Campaign, former Maine state legislator | No Presentation

Boots to Books: Resources for Student Veterans

Presiding: Representative Tina Orwall, Washington

This session offered insight on how the GI Bill is working and how states and the federal government can come together to help veterans.


  • Dr. Harold Martin, associate professor, Pasadena City College | No Presentation
  • Dr. Emily Ives, military and veterans affairs program director, University of California-Los Angeles | Presentation
  • Roberto Herrera, director of outreach, Veterans Services Division, California Department of Veterans Affairs | No Presentation

Veterans and Medical Cannabis: A Grass Roots Movement

Presiding: Representative Tina Orwall, Washington

Many veterans living in the U.S. today are struggling with chronic and debilitating conditions as a result of their service, including PTSD and traumatic brain injury. One treatment gaining traction recently is medical cannabis. But despite being legal in 31 states, VA doctors cannot prescribe marijuana to patients in their care.


  • Sean Kiernan, president, Weed for Warriors Project, Santa Cruz, Calif. | No Presentation

Closing Remarks and Next Steps Outlined by Task Force Co-Chairs

Friday, Aug. 3, 2018

Veterans State Leaders Summit | Hosted by the Veterans Campaign

This program was held at the University of Southern California, Taper Hall, Room 114, 849 W 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90089.

Event Overview

NCSL Military Task Force members and other interested legislators/staff/spouses were encouraged to attend the Veteran State Leaders Summit convened by Veterans Campaign.

The Summit laid the groundwork for a network of veterans and military affiliates in state leadership and gather their input and vision for the founding of an ongoing Veteran State Leaders Program that supports emerging leaders across the country in their pursuit of a “second service” in civic and political leadership. Classes and practical exercises are designed to equip state leaders with the knowledge and skills of how to improve their legislative efforts, political campaigns, and civic or advocacy initiatives to make a difference in their communities.

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