Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire is moderating the Western Governors Association session this afternoon on how states can better help returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. She said she pledged to visit her state's national guardsmen who were deployed to Iraq, and when she did so, she was shocked to hear their concerns, at base after base, focused on whether they'd be able to support their families when they returned home. “We've worked very hard in Washington state, to take the training they had, get it recognized by the state and get them into really good, family-wage jobs,” Gregoire said. “The goal here is for us as governors and those of you who've joined us today to walk out of here with some really actionable ideas that we can take home and implement.”
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter said, “We always tell these soldiers as they're shipping out that it's our job to take care of their families while they're being deployed, it's their job to get over there and get the mission accomplished.” More than 2,800 individuals from western states were deployed to Iraq last fall and likely will be returning home this fall, Otter said. “We need to be prepared as well as we can.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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