Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Many of my blogs are interpreted by some as attacks on Judge Barkemeyer. While they do express my opinion which in many cases is opposite or out of line with Judge Barkemeyer's I can assure you I have a great deal of respect for the job he is doing and do agree with many things he has accomplished.

However, I do have a real problem with his recent article of September 28th where he expounds on the many benefits of the Veteran's office in Milam County, and concludes his article on how he and the Commissioners Court will be looking at cutting up to a third of the budget to bring Milam County more in line with other similar counties. I have to wonder why he does not take that "other similar counties" idea into consideration for the redistricting process.

He mentions in his article that Veterans Administration payments coming into Milam County total almost $14 million per year. He also mentions the budget for 2012 for the Veterans Office is "... just over $89,000..." If you do a little math using the Judge's figures you will find that for every one dollar of the $89,000 spent it returns over 157 dollars to the Milam County economy. Not a bad return on our investment.

He mentions part-time offices in his article as well. Our veterans did not serve part-time and they deserve more than part-time service. Their efforts is what allows Dave to write his articles and me to in turn freely speak my mind. We owe our freedom to our veterans. Freedom for Americans is not part-time.

This particular issue sort of hits close to home for me as well. No, I am not a veteran, but have
recently had some personal experience with our local Veterans Officer . We all know that with any government program there is "red tape" to wade through. I can testify that the Veterans Administration paperwork is a lot more than the average individual can handle. Each mistake or omission delays the process of obtaining benefits even longer.

My Mother-in-Law had a stroke and is confined to a long term care facility. She is the widow of a WW II vet who fought in the European theater. As a widow of a veteran she is entitled to certain VA benefits. Benefits that she would most likely not be receiving today if not for the efforts of Ken Janicek and his staff.

My Mother-in-Law is not the only example. While serving as County Judge there were a number of veterans who came to the office, called and wrote letters in support of the Veterans Service Office.

There are a lot of other areas to cut. If you consider the Judge is proposing to cut one third of the budget, and that amounts to right around 29,000 dollars it really is not that much. Each Commissioner could donate 7,500 dollars from their almost million dollar budgets, or their reserves and bingo.

Bottom line is we owe our veterans our respect and thanks rather than making it more difficult to obtain what they have earned. And never forget many of them earned it the hard way.

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