Thursday, July 28, 2016

Rep. David DeCoste Named to Massachusetts Post-Deployment Commission


House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed Representative David F. DeCoste (R-Norwell) as his designee to the Massachusetts Post-Deployment Commission, which will develop recommendations for programs to assist the state’s service members as they transition to civilian life after deployment.

The Commission will study the barriers facing military personnel returning from deployment and identify ways the state can better assist these veterans with accessing education, employment, healthcare, housing and other services.  The Commission will also develop recommendations for providing mental health counseling services to returning veterans for treating post-traumatic stress injuries, and improving communication between mental health support services and veterans who may benefit from these services.

Representative DeCoste is a 22-year veteran of the United States Army, where he achieved the rank of Major.  He currently serves on the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, as well as the Joint Committees on Housing and Public Service.

“Veterans transitioning back to civilian life often face significant barriers when trying to secure housing or a job,” said Representative Jones.  “With his extensive military background, Representative DeCoste understands the many challenges facing our returning service members. I am confident he will use this expertise to help the Commission identify the most effective ways to improve the delivery of services to our veterans.”

Representative DeCoste is one of six legislators serving on the Commission, which will be chaired by Secretary of Veterans Services Francisco A. Ureña and include representatives from several of the state’s executive agencies.  In addition to Major General Gary W. Keefe, the Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard, the Commission will also include representatives of three Massachusetts-based veterans organizations: Leroy Ashwood, President & CEO of Brave for Veterans, Inc. of Norwood; Sharon Tracy, Executive Director of Quabbin Mediation, Inc. of Orange; and John Downing, CEO & President of Soldier On, Inc., which has offices in Leeds and Pittsfield.

The Massachusetts Post-Deployment Commission was created by the Legislature as part of An Act relative to housing, operations, military service, and enrichment, also known as the HOME Act, which Governor Charlie Baker signed into law on July 14.

The Commission is scheduled to file a report containing its findings and recommendations with the Legislature by September 17, 2017.

Representative DeCoste represents the 5th Plymouth District, which is comprised of the towns of Hanover, Norwell and Rockland.