ANNAPOLIS, MD (November 10, 2011) – Today, in advance of Veterans Day, Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown presided over the first official meeting of VetStat, where representatives from numerous state agencies came together to discuss Maryland’s programs and policies related to improving the lives of Veterans, including progress to date, as well as potential areas for improvement. The meeting was the first in a series of meetings for VetStat, an extension of the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s highly touted StateStat performance-measurement and management program.
“Governor O’Malley and I believe in accountability and efficient management, especially when it comes to expanding and improving the resources and services available to Maryland’s veterans,” said Lt. Governor Brown. “Today’s veterans face unique challenges and by evaluating our current programs and identifying opportunities for improvement, VetStat serves as an essential tool to ensure that we are doing everything in our power to give our veterans the support they need and deserve.”
VetStat is one of several extensions of the StateStat program implemented by Governor Martin O'Malley to make Maryland’s state government more accountable and more efficient. This data-based management approach was first implemented by Governor O’Malley as Mayor of Baltimore with the CitiStat program, which has been studied and emulated by countless jurisdictions from around the globe. CitiStat received the "Innovations in Government" Award from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and now Governor O'Malley and Lt. Governor Brown are bringing these same principles to the management of statewide services.
During today’s meeting, representatives from StateStat, Maryland’s Military Department, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Business and Economic Development, the Department of Disabilities, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, the Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Higher Education Commission discussed Maryland’s progress thus far in providing services for Veterans. They also proposed several strategies to eliminate barriers faced by Veterans related to unemployment, homelessness, incarceration, health and benefits.
Lt. Governor Brown, a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and the nation’s highest-ranking elected official to have served a tour of duty in Iraq, leads the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s efforts to provide veterans with better services and resources.
Since taking office, the O’Malley-Brown administration has fought hard to protect and expand veteran services. In 2008, Lt. Governor Brown led efforts to pass the Veterans Behavioral Health Act. This legislation provided veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with expanded access to behavioral and mental health services to ease the transition from combat to the community. In 2009, the Maryland General Assembly partnered with Brown to expand this program to all veterans. Brown also championed efforts to protect veterans’ scholarship and veterans’ business loan programs and he has led efforts to improve on-campus services for veteran students with Maryland’s College Collaboration for Student Veterans.
To connect veterans with employment opportunities, the Lt. Governor has helped launch initiatives such as the Warrior to Worker program and the Helmets2Hardhats programs in 2010, and the Mil2FedsJobs web portal earlier this year, the first of its kind in any state to directly match transitioning service members with careers in the Federal Government.