The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus has named Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County, to serve on the state’s Joint Committee for Veterans’ and Military Affairs. O’Ban, the father of two soldiers stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), said he was humbled by today’s announcement.
“Our brave military men, women and their families are always at the forefront of my mind, so serving on this committee will be a real honor and a pleasure,” O’Ban said. “The 28th District is home for so many of our soldiers, and I’m committed to finding new ways to help them as a way of saying thanks for their sacrifices.”
O’Ban said that includes Senate Bills 5969 and 5970, which will be considered when the Legislature meets in January. SB 5969 would award academic credit for military training while SB 5970 would evaluate military training and experience as it applies toward meeting state licensing requirements.
“When our men and women in uniform complete their terms of service, many of them want to go to college but find their military training doesn’t qualify toward academic credits,” O’Ban said. “They may be experts in their field in the service, but have to start from scratch in a civilian academic structure. We need to ensure they get the credit they earned while serving.
“Additionally, many of our soldiers leave the service and can’t find jobs because they don’t have the appropriate licenses,” O’Ban continued. “If they can provide documentation that shows they were licensed or certified in certain occupational or professional fields in military service, they should be fast-tracked to obtain the equivalent state license to help ease the transition from soldier back to civilian. It’s the least we can do considering all they’ve done for us.”
Earlier this year O’Ban took an aerial tour of JBLM as part of his fight for full funding of the JBLM/I-5 Corridor in the Senate majority coalition’s proposed transportation package. He is also considering a bill that would offer tax relief to businesses in exchange for hiring veterans.
His new committee assignment will have O’Ban studying and exploring veterans’ and military issues. The committee considers policy ideas and concepts related to those issues and makes recommendations to the Legislature.