Former Commander Keith Clevenger and Squadron 11 member Josh Marks have been lobbying local town governments, and the office of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Secretary of Maryland Veteran Affairs George Owings III, to advocate/urge the congressional representatives to co-sponsor and support this legislation.
Marks had initial success with his mayor. Patrick Rockinberg, mayor of the town of Mount Airy, wrote to Hogan “on behalf of many of my constituents that served in the military, I am supporting the LEGION Act. Many are not afforded membership into The American Legion although they served in a similar capacity or were subject to serve as military personnel at any moment. As a nationally respected leader, I hope if given the opportunity, you will encourage its support as well.”
Clevenger has been corresponding with City of Frederick and County of Frederick officials urging their support of this bill for their city and county constituent as well. Owings quickly recognized the benefits of the legislation for the state's veterans. He thanked both Clevenger and Marks for the opportunity to add his advocacy to the efforts to pass this bill as he advocates for all Maryland veterans. Hogan’s office, through Deputy Director of Federal Relations Ariel Judah, called Marks and stated they were happy to have the governor’s office encourage support for advocating/urging to Maryland’s congressmen for passage of the bill.
“Governor Hogan on Feb. 6 of this year declared 2019 Year of the Veteran. This legislation naturally follows,” according to Marks. “More recently, he recently had the national spotlight as a 2020 presidential candidate,” added Marks. “We would hope all our brothers and sisters who see this then call/write/email their own state governments and veterans agencies to advocate the lobbying of state congressmen to co-sponsor and pass the bill currently in the U.S House of Representatives. This is thinking outside the box.” For Marks, this effort was a way to abate his worries for his son, a sgt. assigned to the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard USS Kearsarge, currently patrolling the transit-waterways in the area of the Strait of Hormuz, the waterway bordering Iran. The recent incidents in the Gulf added to his zeal for lobbying the Maryland government by diverting all his attention into achieving a positive outcome.
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