In 1865, President Lincoln asked Americans to remember soldiers and veterans. He urged them: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” I take his words to heart.
The First Lady and I have had the great pleasure to meet thousands of Maine veterans over the years. Our men and women in uniform are dedicated to protecting the freedoms we share today. They put their lives on the line and make many sacrifices to keep our nation free.
Many members of our Armed Forces have made the ultimate sacrifice, and for them we are truly grateful. We cannot understate the importance of honoring our heroes today and every day.
My administration has made veterans a priority. Creating jobs, providing education and reducing taxes for our veterans are just some ways we are showing our appreciation for them. Not only is this the right thing to do, it is good public policy. Attracting more veterans to Maine will help grow our population and workforce, bringing people with top-notch skills to our state.
We exempted Military Retiree Pension Income from the state income tax and enacted an income tax exemption for active duty military pay earned outside of Maine.
More than 120 employers have signed on halfway through the 2017 Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign and have hired 61 veterans so far. The goal is for at least 100 employers to hire at least 100 veterans and military family members during 100 days.
The State of Maine also gives veterans preference in hiring and retention. These veterans, as well as Gold Star spouses, have an advantage in applying for employment with the State of Maine.
I also signed legislation to ensure veterans and military spouses seeking employment in professions that require Maine licensing are given credit toward their experience acquired during military service.
We’ve expanded educational opportunities by creating a tuition waiver program for all Maine National Guard members to attend the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System and Maine Maritime Academy.
For those veterans and their families who want to take advantage of any services for veterans, please contact the Bureau of Veterans Services. Their website ( http://www.maine.gov/veterans/ ) provides comprehensive information to assist you and your loved ones.
On this Veterans Day, Ann and I thank you for your patriotism and your sacrifice.
We also thank the families of our veterans and of our active-duty service members. Without your support at home, the jobs of our men and women in uniform would be much more difficult.