FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gov. Hutchinson Applauds Veterans Affairs for Increasing Veteran Resources and Services
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Asa Hutchinson today applauded the significant increase in services that have become available for Arkansas veterans since 2015.
Since the launch of its five-year strategic plan in 2015, the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs (ADVA) has opened eight additional District Veteran Services Offices, completing its goal three years ahead of schedule. Until recently, Arkansas’ nearly 250,000 veterans had to travel from across the state to North Little Rock to receive VA assistance. With the opening of the new Veteran Services Offices in Fayetteville, Jonesboro, Mountain Home, Fort Smith, Forrest City, Monticello, Russellville and Hope, Arkansas’ veterans now have regional access to these services. In addition, this year, ADVA offered eight Saturday events in various locations across the state, assisting nearly 400 veterans with claims, healthcare and other needs.
Last year, Governor Hutchinson also announced the grand opening of the Arkansas State Veterans Home in North Little Rock, which accepted its first veteran residents in January of this year. The 31-acre site includes a community building and eight cottages, which can house up to 12 residents each. The home received its VA accreditation, and other long-term care accreditations, and is now more than 50 percent occupied.
The Fayetteville Veterans Home has likewise provided essential services to veterans in northwest Arkansas. In Fiscal Year 2017, the average occupancy rate was 95 percent, significantly higher than state and national averages. The facility earned a Five-Star quality rating award from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as well as other awards in Fiscal Year 2017.
“In Arkansas, we want to do everything we can to support our veterans,” Governor Hutchinson said. “We owe them a great deal. They are an important part of our state, and they provide essential contributions to Arkansas’ workforce. I am pleased by the efforts of the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs under the leadership of Col. Nate Todd. ADVA has done a remarkable job ensuring that our veterans receive the services they deserve.”
"With every passing year, Arkansas has become more and more friendly to veterans," ADVA Director Col. Nate Todd said. "Governor Hutchinson is grateful for the contribution veterans have made in serving our nation. He continues to express his gratitude through his leadership in making Arkansas a great state for veterans. Our governor also recognizes the value that veterans add to Arkansas.
"As a veteran myself, I am grateful to God for the opportunity to work with the governor to make Arkansas a veteran-friendly state. So many others are diligent in working for veterans as well, including the Arkansas Veterans Commission; our federal partners in the Veterans Health Administration, the Veterans Benefits Administration and the National Cemetery Administration; our congressional delegation, their staff; and the veterans service organizations."
In an effort to recruit more military retirees to Arkansas, Governor Hutchinson also signed the Military Retired Pay Tax Cut into law in February of this year. This tax cut, which eliminates state income tax on military retirement pay, was one of his priorities for the 2017 legislative session.
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