Veterans deserve benefits in new GI bill

While I support the improvements made with the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010, the changes made pertaining to interval pay will greatly impair many veterans' ability to accept these benefits.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill is credited for veterans affording to utilize their GI Bill to attend college full time. Previously, veterans with financial obligations, such as a family or mortgage, were unable to afford decreasing their working hours to accommodate college courses. Changing the housing allowance to disallow payment during school scheduled breaks may discourage many veterans from pursuing this benefit, or cause financial hardship to those currently benefiting from the program.

Even though students are not attending class for the brief breaks between terms, they are unlikely to be able to temporarily increase their work schedule during this time to accommodate for the reduction in payment. The consequences are obviously far more dire if the student is solely dependant on the housing allowance.

As a senator, President Barack Obama worked to prevent President George W. Bush from vetoing the original Post-9/11 GI Bill. It disheartens me to see him turn away from a benefit he worked to secure for our nation's veterans.

Veterans have earned this benefit through their service to this country. Providing these hard working, loyal citizens an education will only create a better-educated and financially prosperous nation. Please consider supporting a repeal to this change prior to it becoming effective in August.

Tia Hough


Student had a dog in the college fight

Finally, a student at Mt. Hood Community College accepted my challenge online. Jenni Simonis didn't identify herself to me as student online, but she did in a lengthy letter to the editor Feb. 16 and March 1 to the Portland Tribune (online), arguing for the faculty's position and against the college board. Also, in the March 9 issue of The Gresham Outlook, in her 'Don't ignore students' article, she signed off as a CIS program student.

In two previous articles I said with a caveat, 'I challenge a student in finance or business to delve in the last year's budget and this year's budget.' So far, so good. But, I also said 'don't seek help from your professors who have a dog in the fight.' Well, there is a 'dog' in the fight and it is not a professor, but Simonis and the 'forward group' - 'a full service political consulting firm' for, hold your breath, Democrats and unions

Who is Jenni Simonis? She is a professional student attending college at Mt. Hood in the Computer Information Services (CIS) Program. Additionally, she is a stalking horse for the faculty, union and Democratic Party.

Ms. Simonis' is a consultant for a 'forward group.' According to its website, she has 'two decades experience working with Democratic campaigns in roles ranging from field director and campaign manager to candidate.' In her own words: 'Since 1996 her work has included creating an online presence for nonprofits and the Democratic Party.'

In my view, this marriage of a Democratic consultant/student working for a Democratic consulting firm lobbing for the faculty and against the college board is a toxic mix and a questionable arrangement tainting honest objective opinion.

Tom Gemelli


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