By: Frank McCurdy, National Executive Committeeman

If you are reading this article, I would like to thank you for your efforts to gain knowledge about your American Legion (AL). Informed leadership is the key to successful posts, districts, or department programs. During the last decade, access to AL information through the Internet has been nothing less than remarkable. As an AL leader, I would encourage you to take advantage of all the information available and to communicate those AL goals and objectives to your membership. Almost any question you might have, on any subject, is addressed at “legion.org.” The 2014 Washington Conference was a very productive event.

This year, 2014, the Washington Conference included our National Commander’s Testimony to a Joint Session of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. About 600 legionnaires attended. You would be impressed with the respect given to the TAL.

Department of Colorado leaders also visited all seven congressional offices and two senatorial offices. For the most part, all of the Colorado delegations support our political agenda. If you are interested in a comprehensive overview of the entire AL agenda, download senate bill SB 1982. The AL supports this legislation. No NEC report would be complete without an update on the new Fitzsimons VAMC.

Kiewit Turner (KT) has stated that the cost of the new VAMC at $1.1 billion dollars. The VA claims the VAMC cost at $616 million dollars. KT also estimated the completion to be extended to 4th quarter 2016. KT and VA are simply unable to negotiate their differences; therefore, the issues will be decided by the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals. The court date has been set for May 28th 2014 with a decision within six months thereafter. In the meantime, KT continues to build the VAMC at a reduced rate of construction. A good source of info can be found at www.denver.va.gov and www.denvervahospital.com. The next big issue is to obtain the additional funding.

In conclusion, the success of all the topics addressed depend upon the strength of our membership. Leaders who can articulate the goals and objectives of TAL by taking advantage of the sources available will succeed. Have you explored the sources available to you?