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What you had to say about the 2018 Commanders and Adjutants Association Mid-Winter Conference

Al Labelle (third from right) and the Department of Wisconsin delegation take a photo with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (center) after a meeting during the 2018 Commanders and Adjutants Association Mid-Winter Conference.

DAV’s 2018 Commanders and Adjutants Association Mid-Winter Conference wrapped up at the end of February and our fellow members had a lot to say about their interactions with lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill.

Specifically, we asked members about their overall impression of lawmakers on the issues brought forth from DAV’s legislative agenda.

“They were engaged and willing to listen to what veterans had to say,” said Department of Wisconsin Legislative Director Al Labelle.

Kim Tatham, service officer for the Department of Missouri noted the lawmakers she met with were “sincere in their interest of ongoing veterans issues.”

Many members also expressed great experiences during DAV’s seminars and listening to special guests.

“Secretary Shulkin gave a hopeful overview that they are hearing our needs for caregivers, claims and better solutions for pain management,” said Joe Pennell, senior vice commander for the Department of New York.

One key legislative item discussed with lawmakers was the need to expand caregiver benefits to all veteran caregivers. DAV is leading the charge to bridge this gap between post-9/11 and pre-9/11 era veterans.

Pennell and Labelle both said they believed members of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees reacted positively to National Commander Delphine Metcalf-Foster’s testimony, which outlined DAV’s priorities to strengthen and modernize veterans health care, improving and expanding caregiver support for severely disabled veterans of all eras, provide equitable programs and services for women veterans and defend veterans benefits.

To learn more about DAV’s advocacy and legislative efforts, visit To get involved be sure to check out the Commanders Action Network at

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