Indiana has the fourth largest National Guard and the 16th largest veteran population in the U.S. And one of its military veterans organization says their issues are being overlooked in the race for governor.
Indiana ranked third worst in the country in a 2016 WalletHub study of best and worst places for military retirees.
AMVETS-Indiana legislative director Lisa Wilken says there are ways to improve that ranking that are being overlooked by the state’s leaders.
“We need to make sure that we have an Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs that has the ability for our disabled veterans to have access to the benefits at the federal level that they’ve earned,” Wilken says.
She says that requires state funding for county veteran service officers.
Veterans issues didn’t get a mention in any of the three gubernatorial debates. And Wilken says she thinks the public assumes that gubernatorial candidates will do whatever it takes to help service members and veterans.
“But our statistics and the numbers don’t play that out,” she says.
Wilken notes that military veteran benefits pump more than $2 billion into Indiana’s economy – and she says attracting more veterans will be a boost to the whole state.