Pres. Jackson, Sen. Carpenter announce funding for Aroostook veterans

Posted: July 01, 2020 | Senator Carpenter, Senator Jackson

AUGUSTA – Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, and Sen. Michael Carpenter, D-Houlton, are pleased to announce that Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey has awarded $100,000 to the United Veterans of Maine (UVM) in Caribou.

UVM is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping  Aroostook County veterans gain crucial access to safe housing, Veterans Affairs benefits, job training and more.

“The State of Maine has one of the highest percentages of veterans among residents in the country. The fact is that far too many servicemen and women do not have access to health care, job training and housing that they need to return home and build a better life for themselves and their families. Now, UVM can continue their work and make long-term plans for the future,” said President Jackson. “There is no doubt this would not have happened if it weren’t for Sen. Carpenter’s advocacy and commitment. When the Legislature temporarily adjourned to respond to COVID-19, his Veterans’ Bill of Rights was left unfinished. Instead of pausing his efforts, he worked to find a creative solution to ensure Maine veterans in Aroostook County could continue accessing these vital services.”

Late last year, Attorney General Aaron Frey awarded a one-time grant to the Betsy Ann Ross House of Hope in Augusta, an organization with a particular focus on the needs of female veterans. Carpenter, a Vietnam veteran who served as Maine’s Attorney General from 1991 to 1995, introduced LD 2145 this legislative session — a “Veterans Bill of Rights” proposal that would have included similar funding for UVM. When the Legislature adjourned in March to protect public health and reduce the spread of COVID-19, the bill was carried over and left unfinished. 

In place of the bill’s funding, Jackson and Carpenter worked with UVM to seek a one-time grant for the Caribou organization. Carpenter sent a letter to Attorney General Frey in early May asking for funds to be awarded to UVM, citing the needs of veterans in Aroostook County.

“I know very well the struggles that people in my generation faced when returning home from Vietnam. While the nature of some of those struggles has changed, there is no doubt that today’s returning veterans have many of the same obstacles,” said Sen. Carpenter. “I am proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our veterans in Maine and want to thank the Attorney General for his attention to this issue.”

Jackson is serving his second consecutive term representing District 1 in the Maine Senate, which includes towns in northern Aroostook County. Carpenter is serving his second consecutive term representing District 2, which includes towns in central and southern Aroostook County.