CHARLESTON W.Va. — West Virginia Senate Minority Leader and Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Jeff Kessler called for better treatment of veterans, calling for a re-evaluation of veteran services.
“Respecting our veterans includes providing the ways and means they so desperately need to return to life in our civilian communities, said Kessler.” “We must improve services for our men and women in uniform today and provide long overdue benefits for the veterans and military retirees who have already served.”
Kessler said caring for veterans is “the duty of a grateful nation and state, and it starts with increased benefits, full access to healthcare, transportation to and from medical facilities, education and training opportunities, ending homelessness, as well as expungement of criminal records for any veteran who has completed a veterans treatment court supported by a Circuit Court and the Veterans Administration.”
“Over the next few years there is going to be additional federal funding to support State veterans treatment courts, said Kessler.” Having an expungement law encourages veterans to enroll in programs that are more effective than diversion programs for long-term success.”
Kessler proposes that the candidate for expungement be a veteran with an honorable discharge; that the crime be a nonviolent drug offense and that the offense be the only felony on the veterans’ record. Further, after graduation or completion of the program and prior to seeking expungement, the veteran spends three years after graduation without conviction of any misdemeanor drug offense or any further felony offenses.
“While we can never truly repay the debt we owe our heroes, the least we should do for our brave veterans is to ensure that the government takes a proactive approach to delivering the services and benefits they have earned, so they can access the care they need and deserve. The promise to our veterans is sacred, and is one I vow to uphold as Governor.”