OLYMPIA - Bainbridge Island state Sen. Christine Rolfes (D-23rd District) was honored this week by the U.S. Department of Defense for her efforts while a member of the state House of Representatives to help military veterans find good civilian careers in the Washington workplace once they hang up their uniforms. Rolfes, who will be officially appointed to the Senate July 26 to finish former Sen. Phil Rockefeller’s term, received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Pentagon signed by Robert L. Gordon III, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy.
The certificate recognizes Rolfes for “her leadership on public policy changes positively impacting the quality of life of Service members and their families residing in Washington during the 2011 legislative session,” and specifically singles out her introduction and sponsorship of House Bill 1418. That bill, which was signed by Gov. Gregoire in May and officially becomes law today, allows veterans to use their relevant military training to satisfy state licensing requirements for a number of professions.
“The U.S. military provides service members with some of the finest, most rigorous training programs in the world,” Rolfes explained. “Whatever time our veterans spend repeating unnecessary training amounts to lost salary, and makes it harder to support themselves and their families. Our veterans need jobs, and they need them now, not weeks or months in the future.
“I’m honored that Pentagon officials took notice of what we’re trying to do for Washington’s veterans, and even more touched by the positive feedback I’ve received from both active-duty personnel and vets here in Kitsap.”
Rolfes’ bill will allow vets to use their military training when applying for licenses in dozens of civilian professions, including notary public, on-site wastewater designer, private investigator, real-estate broker or appraiser, architect, cosmetologist, court reporter, engineer, funeral director and home inspector. Rolfes was also the House sponsor this year of a bill sponsored by Sen. Derek Kilmer (D-26th District), which focuses specifically on transitioning military healthcare professionals into civilian careers.
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For more information: Alison Dempsey-Hall, 360.786.7887
For interviews: Sen. Christine Rolfes, 360.786.7842