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Minnesota National Guard
Bill dealing with veterans preference for road contracts will be refined, brought back later

District 52A Rep Bob Dettmer is seeking a civil immunity provision for volunteers in the state's Yellow Ribbon campaign associated with the Minnesota National Guard and is also looking to improve the chances for veteran-owned small businesses to win state road construction contracts

Dettmer, R-Forest Lake, brought his bills before the House Veterans Service Committee on Monday, Jan 30

The civil immunity provision, Dettmer explained, grew out of concerns voiced in the Yellow Ribbon initiative in Washington County

Under Dettmer's provision, civil liability immunity protections are afforded Yellow Ribbon volunteers pursuing activities helpful to veterans' families

Judy Seeberger, of Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network, testified that her husband recently returned from a year's oversea military deployment While gone, Yellow Ribbon volunteers assisted her with such tasks tree trimming and household chores

"The people were there to help me," she said

The committee advanced the civil liability immunity provision to the House civil law committee

A more controversial bill Dettmer is pursuing deals with changing state law - and offering the chance for counties to change their contracting practices - to allow more veteran-owned small businesses to win road construction contracts

As proposed, Dettmer's bill would create a stand-alone construction bid preference program for veteran-owned small business

It would mandate the transportation department award up to a six percent preference to these small businesses That is, a veteran-owned small business could be determined to be the low bidder on a given contract, even though the bid is six percent higher than the next lowest bid Other provisions are included in the bill

"This is the least we can do for them (veterans)," said Ralph Donais, of the Military Affairs Group, a national veterans organization backing the legislation

Dettmer noted that proposed budget cuts to the Department of Defense could mean 100,000 troops could be laid-off "They're going to be coming home," he said

And they want the soldiers from Minnesota to stay in Minnesota, he said

Currently, about 5 percent of state transportation construction contracts are awarded to veteran-owned business, according to Minnesota Department of Transportation official But the contracts are going to a relatively small number of contractors, they noted

Associated General Contractors of Minnesota official Tim Worke expressed several concerns with the legislation The construction industry has been enduring a near Great Depression-like loss of work, he explained

Bids are coming in low and close And the six percent provision in Dettmer's bill is "really creating some concerns" and questions with contractors on how bids are determined, he said

Moreover, smaller construction companies do not have human resources departments and are concerned about increased amounts of paperwork the legislation could bring, he said

And beyond this, simply finding veteran-owned small business has been difficult, Worke said

Dettmer motioned to table his veteran-owned small businesses bill, indicating that he intended to refine the legislation and bring it back

After the committee hearing, Dettmer said that he could have bill back before the committee within a couple of weeks

By TW Budig, ECM Capitol Reporter
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Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.

Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.

Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."

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Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
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