Today, we honor the brave men and women who serve in our armed forces. Their commitment to defend our freedoms and way of life demonstrates the very best of our nation. Our service members place their duty to country before their interests. When they return home, it is then our sacred duty to show them the gratitude they deserve.
Although we can never repay our debt of gratitude to our veterans, we can honor their service by upholding our commitment to providing the care and services they have earned. During the last Minnesota legislative session, we honored our veterans and invested in them. The Minnesota Legislature increased the budget of the Department of Veterans Affairs with an emphasis on programs that directly affect veterans.
To prepare veterans for post-military service careers, we expanded on-the-job training and apprenticeships in the trades. In addition, we invested in college education opportunities for servicemen and women by funding tuition reimbursement. We focused on key initiatives for our most vulnerable veterans such as homelessness, assistance with the legal system and helping active-duty members deal with emergency expenses. We re-emphasized Minnesota's commitment to veterans' homes through funding increases for caretakers.