Charles “Chuck” Owen, House of Representatives District 30, was appointed to the Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs on Feb 17.
The Louisiana House Special Committee on Military and Veteran Affairs purpose is to address the needs of military communities, both active duty and retired.
Representative Charles “Chuck” Owen, a retired officer, son of a World War II veteran and native of Western Louisiana, is aware not only of the needs of our military in regards to our country but also to the State.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to serve and provide a voice for our military and veteran communities. To have a chance to provide input and oversight over things in our State is a great honor,” said Representative Owen.
Owen volunteered to serve on this platform to speak for the members of the military, both active duty and retired.
“I figured if anyone would be well suited for this duty, it would be me. I was reared in Leesville and my family’s roots go all the way back to pre-1900. I spent 20 years on active duty in the military and my wife, Carolyn and I chose to come back to our hometown and area. Also, I have worked as a DoD contractor for much of my post-retirement life and I have a continuing and close connection with the military,” said Owen.
Speaker Schexnayder placed him in the important post.
“Given the length and ongoing operations in various countries throughout the world and the participation of so many Louisiana military units and individuals, I look for this committee to provide recommendations and direction concerning Louisiana veteran and military issues,” said Speaker Schexnayder.
Owen, elected in 2019, represents Beauregard and Vernon Parish.
There are currently six members of the Special Committee.
Kenny Cox- Chairman, Rhonda Butler- Vice Chair, Wilford Dan Carter, Sr- Member, Raymond Crews- Member, Randal Gaines- Member, and Charles Owen-Member.
Owen hopes to be able to relay to his colleagues in the House about the situations happening at Louisiana’s military facilities.
He hopes to be able to get the message across of what the State should be doing to make sure that military members have all they need to train well and to sustain a good quality of life, both during and after their military service.
Owen also wants to be able to be a “consistent and vocal voice” for the veterans of Louisiana while ensuring that the State advocates for them.
“For veterans, I’d say making sure the State continues to act as an advocate for their needs, both as an intermediary between the Veteran and the Federal government, and to create an environment where Veterans and their families can find a good quality of life,” said Owen.
Owen believes: “We have a great opportunity and I’d say the obligation to make sure our veterans and their families are made aware of training, education and employment opportunities in Louisiana. Veterans are almost always well trained, highly skilled and highly motivated personnel; oftentimes, civilian employees don’t really understand the depth and breadth of their skill sets. The State can do great things by ensuring communication takes place and that vets are employers understand each other and what each side can bring to the table, so to speak.”
In regards to the need for active duty military member’s needs Owen says, “I’d say the state has to make sure we are a good partner and enabler of what our Federal installations are working to achieve. Barksdale, Fort Polk, and Joint Base New Orleans and important components of the national defense strategy. The State needs to be in constant contact with installation and service leadership and find out what gaps we can fill, whether it be in education, training, infrastructure, housing or other things.”
As a retired military officer, Owen has seen the changes in the DoD and the military firsthand.
“We have a great, and much stronger DoD these days, but the work of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines is hard and often arduous. The states where installations reside need to be places where service members can be confident their families have a great quality of life,” said Owen.
Owen has many ideas to help Louisiana’s military community and hopes that he is able to work towards accomplishing his goals.
Besides working towards goals for the current military in Louisiana and veterans, he wants to also help those who will be coming to Louisiana.
“My idea is that we get to a place of near-instantaneous recognition and reciprocation of licenses and certifications for our military family members and the families of government civilians who come to live and work in Louisiana. I believe Louisiana should be open for business and the State needs to welcome and quickly accommodate the incoming nurse, teacher, electrician or whatever type of professional who comes to Louisiana as a part of the military family. I’m also proposing that the current teacher license reciprocation be expanded from 3 to years and include the family members of civil servants and contract employees who come to our State, ” said Owen.
Owen hopes that along with the Senate Military Affairs Committee, that Senator Reese is a part of, that the House Committee and the Governor can work towards big strides for Louisiana, and those who have served and continue to serve our country.
“ I’m just honored to be in the position of State Representative and excited to have the chance to contribute to this important committee. I’m very thankful for the great and continuing work of Secretary Strickland and his staff at the Department of Veterans Affairs and I hope to be able to support his work and initiatives. I’m also very thankful we have a Governor who served our nation as an active duty officer. He understands the life of a soldier and I know he’ll continue to be a great advocate and leader for our military communities.” said Owen.
Representative Owen is also part of the Education, Labor and Industrial Relations, Transportation Highway and Public Works, Louisiana Republican Legislative Delegation and Special Committee for Military and Veteran Affairs.