News Room

April 1, 2008

"Here is where wounded warriors come home. And the measure of our regard for their courage is in the quality of care we provide."

Written by Senator Eliot Shapleigh,


EL PASO –  The Texas Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations (VAMI) is meeting today, April 1, in San Antonio to hear testimony and discuss Interim Charges for the 81st Texas Legislature.  Senator Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso) serves as Vice-Chair for VAMI and Chair for the Senate Subcommittee on Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).  

Senator Shapleigh also toured Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and shared lunch with wounded veterans.  "Here is where wounded warriors come home. And the measure of our regard for their courage is in the quality of care we provide," said Senator Shapleigh.

The VAMI Interim Charges are as follows:

- Examine any existing state veteran hiring and procurement preferences and procedures and make recommendations for improving and enhancing these programs to increase efficiencies and maximize funding.

- Study veteran reintegration issues, including the occurrence of post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse problems, and domestic violence and other family issues. Make suggestions regarding what the state could do to supplement and enhance related services for veterans and their families, focusing on state military forces veterans and reservists. Include an assessment of the implementation of SB 1058, 80th Texas Legislature, relating to reintegration counseling services.

- Study state services and benefits for injured service members and their families who are recovering from their injuries and rehabilitating in Texas. Make recommendations on how to better serve them.
Study the relationships between military installations and the surrounding communities and make recommendations addressing encroachment and quality of life.

- Examine ways that "The Fund for Veterans Assistance" established by H.B. 3107, 80th Texas Legislature, could be maximized to the benefit of Texas veterans.
Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Veteran Affairs & Military Installations Committee, 80th Legislature, Regular Session, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Focus on the implementation of the Texas Veterans Commission (H.B. 3426) and Texas Veterans Land Board (H.B. 3140) Sunset reviews.

 In 2003, Senator Shapleigh spearheaded the state's preparation for the 2005 BRAC round by authoring the omnibus Texas Military Preparedness Act, SB 652.  As a result of his commitment to Texas' defense dependent communities and military heritage, Senator Shapleigh was appointed Chair of the Subcommittee on Base Realignment and Closure in 2004 and continues to lead that committee.  

Over the next five years, Ft. Bliss officials project that El Paso will see a boost in soldiers from an estimated 17,000 today to over 37,000 in 2012.  The following chart shows the projected increase in El Paso's population, including spouses and children of addition soldiers.  


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