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(Neb)-Gov Proposes Merging State VA, Veterans Home Division  Listen

By: John Axtell Posted at: 01/09/2017 02:25 PM
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -  Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has announced a plan to merge the Nebraska Department of Veterans' Affairs with the Division of Veterans Homes in the Department of Health and Human Services.

       Ricketts told an audience of mostly veterans at the Capitol this morning that the idea is to give veterans the best service in the most efficient manner for both them and the state.


The Veterans Homes were part of the Department of Public Institutions before it and several other agencies were merged to form Health and Human Services in 1997.

      Both Veterans Affairs and the Vets Home Division have been headed for the past decade by John Hilgert, who says the proposed merger has been discussed since he was a state senator in the mid-90s. As a result, he's excited to see it move forward.

     Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Chair John Murante says he will introduce legislation for the merger immediately after the governor's State of the State Address this Thursday morning.

     Nebraska is home to over 143,000 veterans. There are 4 State Veterans Homes in Scottsbluff, Bellevue, Norfolk, and Grand Island - the latter scheduled to be replaced by a new one in Kearney.

      The Department of Veterans Affairs has offices in Lincoln and Alliance, but also collaborates with the county veterans service officers around the state.


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