Each year, VCOC actively advocates legislatively. At the State Level, VCOC participates in the annual Joint Leadership Council Day in Richmond, and is a member of the Virginia Joint Leadership Council (JLC). At the Federal Level, VCOC particpates in the MOAA National Storming of the Hill in Washington, D.C.
From the Virginia Department of Veterans Service Website: "The mission of the Joint Leadership Council of Veterans Service Organizations (the JLC) is to provide advice and assistance to the Governor, General Assembly and the Department of Veterans Services (DVS) on matters of concern to the veterans community and provides a conduit of information to and from the veterans service organizations on policy and legislation, pending and enacted, as well as information on existing services."
The JLC is composed of one representative from each qualifying veterans service organization (VSO), to be appointed by the Governor, and the Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services and the Chairmen of the Board of Veterans Services and the Veterans Services Foundation or their designees, who shall serve as nonvoting ex officio members. COL Monti Zimmerman, USA (Ret) is the VCOC representative to JLC.
From the MOAA website for 2020: "This will be a tumultuous news year of partisan politics, with the focus on the upcoming presidential election as well as the 33 Senate seats and 435 seats in the House of Representatives up for election. MOAA will continue to remain decidedly nonpartisan. Our team works with every elected official, seeking positive change for the members of the seven uniformed services, our nation’s veterans, and all military families and survivors.
In January, the 116th Congress begins its second session, and MOAA continues to stay focused on our mission. We’ve spent the past year meeting with members of Congress and their staffs to discuss pay equity, military medicine, survivor benefits, and other issues affecting servicemembers and veterans and their families. With record-level support during the first session on issues like repealing the “widows tax,” it’s clear our lawmakers know MOAA will remain equally engaged during the second half.
MOAA’s Government Relations staff identified the following objectives, which broadly represent priorities with targeted actions (not all inclusive) to address anticipated threats for the coming year. As we continue the fight to sustain benefits, health care, and compensation in support of the uniformed services and their families, we will keep our members informed on progress throughout the year."
Col. Dan Merry, USAF (Ret), Vice President for Government Relations, says, “Our team has analyzed issues of benefits and compensation common to servicemembers and veterans and their families and survivors. We plan to clearly communicate specific actions we will undertake this coming year to address concerns across these expansive topics. Please be sure to sign up for The MOAA Newsletter online for updates.”
In reminder, MOAA is exempt from federal taxation under Sec. 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code. As such, MOAA and its affiliates must avoid engaging in partisan political activities. View guidance here: MOAA Guidance on Partisan Political Activities MOAA National Advocacy Goals 2020
1. Protect Your Health Care Benefit
2. Keep Military Pay and Benefits Strong
3. Support Military Families
4. Support the Total Force
5. Better, Faster DoD/VA Services
6. Strengthen and Support All Uniformed Services
Virginia Joint Leadership Council Legislative Initiatives 2021
During the October 21, 2020 meeting, the JLC adopted the following seven initiatives for 2021, and forwarded them to DVS and the General Assembly, may be viewed at: JLC 2021 Intiatives. Feedback and questions regarding the intiatives may be directed to COL Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A world of federal and state legislsative Advocacy
To above pictured Zoom Meeting with Senator Mark Warner (D VA), E-mail letter of appreciation, 10 Sepetember 2020:
Thanks again to each of you who participated in our zoom call on August 19, 2020 to discuss how I can better serve veterans in Virginia. I value your voice and the dedicated service that you provide to our veterans every day. We have a lot of work to do, but rest assured our veterans remain my top priority. Thank you for your service to our country and to Virginia veterans!
Senate and House
Click below for Virginia Senate Listing:
Click below for Virginia House Listing:
Storming of the Hill 2020
Virtual Storming 2020
VCOC Chapters have been actively participating in the MOAA National Virtual Storming of the Hill in 2020. In advance of the MOAA National Virtual Storming 2020, VCOC President Col Boyd Nix, USAF (Ret) sent a letter in support of the MOAA Position of halt to military medical cuts, view here:
While the ongoing pandemic forced the cancellation of in-person events connected to Storming the Hill 2020, MOAA continues its advocacy mission with a Virtual Storm highlighting the need to protect the military health care benefit earned by millions of servicemembers, past and present. For 2020, MOAA National Storming runs from 1 May to 31 June 2020.
The top two issues for storming this year are:
1. Thank you to Congress for passage of the SBP-DIC Offset "Widows Tax" elimination, included in the NDAA.
2. In view of the COVID-19 Pandemic, halt to proposed military medical billet reductions.
VCOC is also advocating with our Virginia delegation for the Major Richard Star, USA (Ret) Act, Concurrent Receipt: Major Richard Star Act.
Check the MOAA National Website for Virtual Storm news, resources, and updates. You can download materials, as well as find links to send critical messages to your legislators at: MOAA National Storming 2020.
VCOC chapter participation (with lead officers noted), specific to MOAA National Virtual Storming of the Hill 2020, click here to view: VCOC Storming 2020. Screen shots of VCOC Summer Storming 2020 pictured at left.
VCOC Legislators of the Year
Each year, VCOC awards Legislator of the Year for both the State and Federal levels. For 2020, VCOC voted Congressman Denver Riggleman (VA 05) as Federal Legislator of the Year, and Senator Bryce Reeves (R 17th) as State Legislator of the year.
Normally, VCOC presents the VCOC Legislator of the Year award to the respective awardees at the annual VCOC Congressional Affairs Luncheon, Capitol Hill Club, DC. Due to the COVID Pandemic, the VCOC Congressional Affairs Luncheon 2020 was cancelled. In lieu, the award is being individually presented at the district offices of the awardees.
Pictured at left, VCOC Vice President CDR Linc Smith, USNR (Ret), presents the VCOC State Legislator of the Year to Senator Bryce Reeves at his district office in Fredericksburg, VA, 29 October 2020.
Pictured below, presentation of VCOC Federal Level Legislator of the Year to Congressman Denver Riggleman at his district office in Charlottesville, VA, 13 November 2020. From left to right, Central Virginia Chapter Legislative Affairs members COL Wes Loffert, USA (Ret), Capt Trish Sifka, USAF (Former), VCOC Vice President CDR Linc Smith, USNR (Ret), Congressman Denver Riggleman, CVC President LtCol John Down, USAF (Ret).