Letters to the Editor

Letter | Vote yes on Prop #1

Our men and women in uniform are currently involved in the longest deployment in the history of our nation. Whether it be in Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere, they have fought for their country for over a decade, most serving an average of three to four tours, leaving loved ones behind, uncertain whether they’ll ever see them again.

But when they return home, too often these veterans do not find the support they deserve. That is why we urge you to approve Proposition 1 on your Aug. 16 primary ballot, and join us in renewing the King County Veterans & Human Services Levy. Importantly, this is not a tax increase but simply a continuation of the levy, which has been collected for the past five years.

Since it was first approved by voters in 2005, the levy has helped more than 82,000 veterans, their families, and others in need. It helps them find jobs, housing and treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But this vital funding will end this year if the levy is not renewed.

As elected officials, we are charged with representing our citizens and providing them with efficient and effective public services. The Veterans Levy is one of the best-managed programs we have seen to date. Two citizen oversight boards track and evaluate every dollar spent. As a result, 84 percent of veterans served by levy programs have improved their housing, employment or income, and 95 percent of those receiving treatment for PTSD have shown reduced symptoms. These are real results.

Pete Smith was a Marine for five years and served honorably in Iraq. Returning home after his deployment, Pete struggled to readjust to civilian life. When staff from the King County Veterans Project met him, he was living in his truck and suffering from PTSD. Levy-funded programs helped him find a home and get back into school. He’s now a full-time student and founder of the Bellevue College Association of Veterans, which helps other veterans succeed after leaving the service.

Today, there are far too many veterans like Pete returning to an economic recession like few of us have ever seen, returning home to homelessness. They need our help now more than ever to get back on their feet after serving their country. For roughly $17 a year for the typical homeowner, we can ensure that services are available to provide veterans and their families with the help they need and have certainly earned.

The Veterans & Human Services Levy is a small investment with a big impact for our veterans, their families and our communities. A vote to approve Proposition 1 is a step toward meeting our obligation to those who have served their country, and it will not increase your taxes. Please join with us, and vote to renew the Veterans & Human Services Levy. Approve Proposition 1 on the Aug. 16 primary ballot.

Thank you.

State Representatives Judy Clibborn, Deborah Eddy, Roger Goodman, Ross Hunter, Marcie Maxwell, Larry Springer

State Senators Andy Hill, Steve Litzow

Kirkland Mayor Joan McBride

Kirkland Deputy Mayor Penny Sweet

Kirkland City Council Members Dave Asher, Jessica Greenway, Doreen Marchione, Bob Sternoff, Amy Walen

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