Veterans are at the state capitol in force today, demanding more benefits from the state. Don Roepke of Brandon, Iowa, a Vietnam veteran and one of the spokesmen for today’s mass lobbying effort says they’re trying to get veterans the benefits that they earned while defending the interests of their fellow citizens in the state of Iowa. Six different veterans groups have members at the statehouse visiting one-on-one with legislaors, asking for creation of a new 50-million dollar fund for veterans. “Iowa is the state that gives less to its veterans than any other state,” Roepke says. The Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown is “wonderful” according to Roepke, but he says that’s basically all the state does for its veterans. Roepke says until 1960, the state gave what he calls “instant assistance” grants to poor veterans and their families. That veterans benefits fund was bankrolled by state sales of liquor. Once the state liquor monopoly ended, the fund “went away” according to Roepke. There are 165-thousand veterans living in Iowa today, and legislative leaders say they get several state benefits, including a property tax credit reserved for veterans and a jump ahead in line when they apply for some state jobs.
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