In fall 2006, four participants in the 2006-2007 Humphrey Institute Policy Fellows leadership program began working on veterans issues. Staff from the Center for Democracy and Citizenship worked with the Policy Fellows using a model for civic organizing called Public Achievement.
The Policy Fellows group included a Minnesota Court of Appeals judge, the government relations executive for the Minnesota National Guard, a county administrator from Greater Minnesota, and a communications representative for a healthcare insurer for people with disabilities. They also organized public policy students at the University of Minnesota to work with them.
They gathered information and developed relationships with contacts in state government, including the state Legislature and courts, with the VA Hospital, University of Minnesota, and other organizations. Their successful action included:
- Bringing together the legislative, executive and judicial branches of state government in a rare demonstration of joint work, passed a joint resolution declaring May 2007 Military Family Appreciation Month.
- Working with legislators to introduce a bill that would change the Power of Attorney (POA) form and provide greater protection from financial abuse to those who use a POA while deployed.
- Initiating a pilot veteran status data collection form in two Minnesota judicial districts.
When the Policy Fellows concluded their leadership program, the Center for Democracy and Citizenship expanded its role to continue the work as organizers of the Warrior to Citizen Campaign. Read about the activities and impact of the Warrior to Citizen Campaign.