Like most of you, I will never forget September 11, 2001. I remember turning on the news and feeling helpless as I watched downtown Manhattan flood with smoke and people coated in dust from head to toe. September 11 is a day that permanently shaped who we are and what we believe in.
The attacks that took place in New York City and our nation’s capital provided not only a painful reminder of the forces of evil that exist in this world, but also a reminder to be thankful for the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans. As a state lawmaker, I feel it is my duty to continue to thank the men and women who fight for those freedoms and help them in any way I can.
For this reason, the Indiana General Assembly passed a handful of new laws this session that work to help Hoosier veterans. Did you know, Indiana’s unemployment rate for post 9/11 veterans is well over 10 percent? In order to address this growing concern, I supported legislation to allow private employers to provide a voluntary veterans’ preference policy for hiring, promoting or retaining Hoosier veterans. This will bring greater awareness to the issue of veteran unemployment and help to lower this statistic.
Currently, federal law allows active duty military personnel and reservists to temporarily postpone various civilian obligations, such as debt collections and lease terminations. I also supported legislation that extends the same protections to members of the Indiana National Guard while they are deployed or are serving on active duty orders.
Lastly, I was proud to support legislation that allows not only active duty military members, but also members of the Indiana National Guard stationed in Indiana, to be eligible for in-state tuition at our state’s colleges and universities. If military men and women are serving our state, they should be allowed to attend an Indiana institution without the increase cost if they live out of state.
As a former member of the military, I know how important it is that we continue to pass legislation that works to help those who fight for our country and for our state. Whether it be helping to lower the veteran unemployment rate or making Indiana higher education more affordable to those out of state, we must help those who dedicate their lives to service, and never forget the sacrifice they made –and continue to make– for our great nation.
Rep. Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.