December 2, 2022
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Our View: Irwin’s bill will give veterans a chance at a fresh start

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At a time when California is scraping for everyone possible who can be recruited for work or job training, a bill by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin, D-Thousand Oaks, struck a responsive chord.

Signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom — who called Irwin to let her know while she was on a Saturday hike on Sept. 17 — AB 325 is called the Veteran’s Military Discharge Upgrade Grant Program.

The idea is to provide grants to nonprofits and service providers to help them file discharge upgrade paperwork to help veterans become more employable.

“Veterans have bravely fought for our safety, and it is only fair that we now fight for theirs and provide them with the services and benefits that are owed to them,” Irwin said in a statement after the signing was announced.

Among those who received less-than-honorable discharges that could be revised are veterans who were discharged over sexual orientation, PTSD or traumatic brain injury, which are three categories of service record where new rules and regulations provide for current service members to not be penalized for their service.

Veterans who left the military with a serious blemish on their record can also petition successfully for an upgraded exit, based on the rule changes.

The process is fairly detailed and involved a lot of paperwork, something that Irwin’s bill hopes to address by providing additional services to organizations that work with veterans.

This is one of those issues where government can do a lot of good — if elected representatives are paying attention.

PAST TIME TO LEVEL THE VENTURE CAPITAL FIELD

Reporting by Jorge Mercado in the Business Times this week underscores what a male-dominated world venture capital is.

Only a very small percentage of women entrepreneurs are able to get venture capital funding, and for them it is often an uphill battle to get their products or services in front of the people with money to make or break a fledgling venture.

We’ve seen at business plan competitions up and down the Central Coast that women are just as capable as men at hatching new innovations.

We are past the point where women should be moving up the charts when it comes to raising venture capital. We encourage our Central Coast funders to do their part.

REMEMBER TO CAST THAT BALLOT

The 2022 elections are upon us, and with them, the responsibility to cast your ballot.

Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, independent or third party member, we urge you to mail in your ballot, drop it in a voting box or show up on Election Day (or before) and exercise your rights as a citizen.

Voting is at the bedrock of our democratic process, and don’t let the election deniers discourage you from thinking that your vote is useless. Your vote counts and it will be counted.

A number of our readers and past award honorees are up for election this year. We recognize their courage and commitment to public service in entering the arena.