MISSOULA — Montana’s lieutenant governor will join his counterpart from Alabama in co-chairing a national committee created to address some of the biggest issues facing military veterans at the state level.
John Walsh, the former Montana adjutant general who now serves as lieutenant governor, was selected to co-chair the National Lieutenant Governors Association’s State Strategies in Military Affairs Committee.
Walsh will lead the committee with Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey.
“We as a nation have made some progress with regards to our vets,” Walsh said on Thursday. “But there’s a tremendous amount of work to be done to strengthen how we serve veterans.”
Walsh said roughly 100,000 military vets remain homeless on any given night, and the VA is facing a lengthy backlog in processing VA claims and benefits.
While some of the issues rise to the federal level and remain the work of Congress and the VA itself, Walsh said the committee will look at ways of solving some of the problems at home.
“We’ll identify what we can across the nation as best practices, what some states are doing well and ideas we can share,” Walsh said. “We’ll look at what we can do from the state level to make improvements.”
NLGA is a professional association providing the first-line successors to state governors the opportunity to research and exchange ideas on pressing social issues.
The new military affairs committee will work to advance the causes of military members, veterans and their families.
“He (Walsh) understands not only the challenges faced by service members and veterans, but also the impacts of service on their family members,” Gov. Steve Bullock said. “His experience and commitment on military affairs is unmatched.”