Francis Scott Key Post 11
In 1918, when World War I ended, there was no national veterans hospital system. Compensation authorized for disabled veterans, widows and orphans was inadequate and delayed. Federal administration of veterans programs was in the hands of too many agencies and neglected. All these factors contributed to widespread suffering in the veterans community. That was the situation The American Legion faced in the winter and spring of 1919. Returning veterans’ physical and financial challenges were considered a national disgrace; to correct them was a national responsibility. These were problems that required the hand of Congress. The American Legion immediately established a National Legislative Committee, which scored its first success in September 1919 when Congress granted the Legion a permanent federal charter. Over the course of the next few weeks and months, the Legislative Committee championed various laws improving veterans disability and death benefits. From the beginning, the Legion’s National Legislative Committee (now the National Legislative Commission) has been on the front line every time Congress has been petitioned to enact laws expanding and strengthening benefits for veterans and their families. These victories have never been easy. The Legion has had to stand strong and push back against efforts to erode or destroy veterans programs. Other times, we’ve lost battles – for example, in 1933, the Economy Act nearly eliminated all veterans and dependents benefits. The Legion refused to accept defeat, and the next year, it led a unified campaign that succeeded in restoring most of the disabled veterans benefits taken by the Economy Act. Since then, the Legion has logged one legislative win after another, starting with the GI Bill – hailed as one of the greatest pieces of social legislation of the 20th century and securing pensions for surviving spouses and children of war veterans. In December 2013, Congress reduced military retirees’ cost of living adjustments (COLA) by 1 percent for working-age retirees, which would cost the average E-7 more than $70,000. The American Legion made a legislative blitz and was able to get the provision repealed in just 55 days. In short, the Legion’s leadership has contributed to a stronger America. From children and youth programs to Americanism, national security and foreign relations, we’ve enhanced and strengthened our nation’s life through the legislation we’ve supported.
The Legislative Committee of an American Legion Post has the following purpose:
- Promotes the official legislative mandates of The American Legion
- Disseminate monthly legislative updates; establish, maintain and promote grassroots lobbying activities
- Establishes and maintain liaison with elected officials and their staff
All activities must be in compliance with the Constitution of The American Legion, “The American Legion shall be absolutely non-political and shall not be used for the dissemination of partisan principles nor for the promotion of the candidacy of any person seeking public office or preferment.” However, voter education is a critical element of the electoral process, and town hall meetings, Meet the Candidate Nights and allowing candidates to address Post meetings is encouraged.
Since it was chartered in 1919, FSK Post 11 has been involved in the legislative process at all levels of government. At the local and state level, contact is maintained with the elected officials of Frederick County and strong relationships remain.