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Darren Soto, Anna Paulina Luna Team Up on Bill Expanding Opportunities for Veterans in Marine Conservation

Last week, U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., showcased his proposal to “require the Secretary of Commerce to establish a grant program that facilitates the training and employment of veterans in the marine conservation field.”

Soto introduced the “Don Young Veterans Advancing Conservation Act” at the end of July with the backing of six House members, including U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla. The bill is named after the late U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, who passed away last year. First elected to the House in 1972, Young is the longest-serving Republican in congressional history.

The bill, which Young championed, “calls on the Department of Commerce to create the ‘Veterans Advancing Conservation Grant Program’ to award grants to nonprofit organizations that train or employ veterans to conduct underwater marine and coastal conservation activities,” including “coral restoration, marine debris removal, hurricane recovery, and more.”

“So many veterans in our community are looking to continue their service beyond the military. Our bill encourages the Department of Commerce to create opportunities for veterans to reinvest their training and potential through conservation efforts,” said Soto. “I’m proud to be leading this effort in the House in honor of the late Don Young. Congressman Young was a champion for veterans in Alaska and the nation. He was also a dear friend that I had the privilege of serving with for nearly three terms on the Natural Resources Committee, and I was his co-lead sponsor on the legislation previously. It is now up to us to continue his efforts to help veterans when they come home.”

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.

Author

  • Kevin Derby

    Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

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