State Rep. Matt Huuki announced plans to sponsor a two-day event across several locations in the Western U.P., in order to provide veterans a forum to address state officials directly about their concerns.
Earlier this year, Huuki held an area town hall tour to discuss mining job creation. Recognizing the distance that separates his communities from Lansing, Huuki spends much of his time working to bridge this substantial gap.
“U.P. issues are Michigan issues, and these voices need to be heard,” said Huuki, R-Atlantic Mine. “State government is anything but perfect, however, and that’s where legislators come in. The biggest part of my job is to be a conduit for my constituents.”
The February town hall tour brought many important issues to the forefront, and Huuki took inspiration from the concerns of L’Anse resident Donald Baril, a Korean War veteran.
“Our biggest concern is our benefits,” Baril said. “Lots of our veterans can’t get health insurance. These are the problems we’re going to want to talk about.”
Baril has been talking to fellow veterans and is hopeful that the event will have a big turnout. Huuki said that many of these issues are federal and he is trying to bring in representatives from congressional offices.
“It’s important that we identify where the problems lie and how the state can respond to the needs of veterans, and also how we can work with the federal government to do so,” Huuki said. “Servicemen and women in Michigan are underserved compared to the rest of the country. This has been a problem for years and is a source of real frustration to those who have made great sacrifices for their country.”
Huuki’s office is working with Rep. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, to begin putting together a Veterans Symposium for April 27 and 28. Huuki has been working to secure times and locations in military buildings throughout the Western U.P.
The freshman lawmaker will be bringing key legislators and state officials to each location to hear from local veterans and their families.
“There has been some ongoing work to address Michigan’s poor service to veterans, but policy decisions aren’t made in a vacuum,” Huuki said. “These discussions will help veterans and officials come together to recognize and start solving these problems.”
Specific times and locations will be released once details are finalized.
Huuki can be reached toll free at 1-888-663-4031; by fax, 517-373-9303; by email, email@example.com; by mail at P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48933; or through his website, www.repmatthuuki.com.