The Democrat candidate for Lt. Governor has a plan to help Kansas veterans become better served in the state.

The Democrat candidate for Lt. Governor has a plan to help Kansas veterans become better served in the state.

State Sen. Kelly Kultala, of Kansas City, Kan., said that a study needs to be done to see how the state can better serve its 70,000+ veterans.

“Others talk about how we have all of these veterans that are not getting the necessary services,” Kultala said.
Kultala, who currently serves on the Senate sub-committee on Veteran Affairs said that a staggering fact is that the state has just one Veteran Services representative for 11,000 Kansas veterans.

She said that part of her plan is to recommend a study, with help of the Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, that examines the state’s service delivery and a way to deliver those services better to veterans.

“I don’t know if it is something as simple as asking people if they are veterans when they get a driver’s license and get them into a pipeline,” Kultala said. “But we need to do something.”

Another part of her plan is to look for a center of excellence for mental health disorders for veterans, focusing on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“I would like to lobby the federal government for a center, specific for PTSD and other disorders,” Kultala said.

In addition, she also said that elevating the Kansas Commission on Veteran Affairs (KCVA) out of its sub-cabinet position under the Kansas Department on Aging.

“I think we should move that up a level,” Kultala said. “If that means making it a cabinet-level position, I would be for that.”

However, she acknowledged that some of those initiatives will require expending state funds in a time where belt-tightening is at a high priority.

“I’m not convinced that the money we’re spending is being done in the most efficient manner right now,” Kultala said.

Ultimately, the best end result, as far as Kultala is concerned, is that Kansas veterans are better served with a wide range of services.

“I think the Legislature would want to hear how we could better serve our veterans,” Kultala said.

On the Web:
Kansas Department on Aging:
http://www.agingkansas.org
Kansas Commission on Veteran Affairs:
 http://www.kcva.org

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140