Rep. Bruce Braley visits ISU student veterans

Rep. Bruce Braley (D), a contender for Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D) soon to be vacated seat, is the latest victim of the petty “gotcha” universe. llege students, Nov. 6.

Katelynn Mccollough

With Veterans Day just a weekend away, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley stopped by to chat with ISU student veterans in the Memorial Union.

One student, Tom Hall, who was an Army Ranger but now plays for the ISU football team spoke openly with the representative of his experience in the military and now as a student athlete.

“For me, I have zero complaints,” Hall told Braley when it comes to working with the VA and receiving health care.

Braley also asked Hall of his experiences of obtaining aid through the GI Bill and with working with student veteran services at the university.

“I haven’t had a need for any of them [services] yet,” Hall explained, who enlisted when he was 19 and is receiving financial aid through the GI Bill. “Jathan and the VA support office here [at Iowa State] have done a great job. Whenever someone needs anything they are on it right away.”

Braley began a tour with Iowa colleges and universities to visit with student veterans and issues they may be facing on Monday.

“The most important thing is making sure after these veterans have served their country that they are getting the benefits and services that they have earned on college campuses,” Braley said. “That’s why this has been so illuminating.”

Jathan Chicoine, veteran services coordinator, said that he is grateful whenever there is an opportunity for more conversations on veteran affairs.

Chicoine said that there are just more than 700 veterans, active military members and family members of those in the military at Iowa State.

Braley has worked to strengthen transparency of post secondary schools in their use of recruiting veterans since it is a large opportunity for schools to gain access to federal funds. Braley said that some colleges and universities have shown a large influx in the funds they receive, but low graduation and placement rates with student veterans.

“When school’s are doing it right you can see the higher graduation rates and higher placement rates,” Braley explained. “Then tax payers have a higher level of confidence that the investment we make for these deserving veterans are actually providing a return to the veteran and to society.”

Braley said he has not seen this problem within Iowa.

A community supper is being held on Wednesday, Nov. 13, to honor veterans and their families. The event begins with a social hour at 5 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.