, FEBRUARY 10, 2008, (Special to PHNO) by Jere Beery, OFFE Public Relations Director <> Pls. Click here

[PHNO WEBMASTER'S NOTE: Announcement NOTICE!!! at the bottom of the news report]

ON ‘Super Tuesday’, February 5th, registered voters in Illinois saw the following ‘yes or no’ question on their ballots;

“Shall the federal government be required to adopt full mandatory funding of the Department of Veterans Affairs for the purpose of ensuring that all eligible honorably discharged U.S. veterans receive quality and accessible healthcare and services?”

Preliminary reports from the 23 county precincts that participated in this ballot referendum indicate a landslide of approval for full mandated funding of the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system. The combined vote tabulation thus far, not including early votes and absentee votes is; 1,137,735 YES votes, to 77,519 NO votes, or 93.6 percent approval. According to Cook County Board of Commissioners Administrative Analyst, Georgiann Callaway, USN(Ret.), this vote represents a historic landslide of voter approval in Illinois for any previous ballot initiative.

The ballot question was authored by OFFE Public Relations Director, Jere Beery, which in June of last year was passed as an advisory referendum to be placed on the primary election ballot by the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Since that time, 22 additional Illinois counties joined Cook County and placed the same VA funding question on their primary ballots.

The 2 most common comments heard at exit polls on Tuesday concerning the question of veteran’s healthcare were; “That was a no-brainer”, and “I thought the VA was already fully funded.”

According to OFFE National Chairman, Gene Simes, Illinois voters have voiced their overwhelming support of fully funding veteran’s healthcare, and our politicians should listen very carefully to the wishes of these Great Americans. Simes and the OFFE Team are convinced that the Illinois vote tally is a very good indicator of how most Americans feel concerning this subject. The success of this project in Illinois can be directly attributed to the focused efforts of many good people within that great state, and to the national leadership of Mr. Gene Simes and Operation Firing For Effect.

In early 2006, U.S. Air Force veteran and OFFE Committee Member, Mr. John Monaghan of Chicago, Illinois approached Cook County Commissioner Anthony J. Peraica with OFFE’s full mandatory funding resolution and the idea of placing the mandatory funding question on the county-wide ballot for Cook County residents to voice their opinion on. Shortly there after, Commissioner Peraica instructed Administrative Analyst Georgiann Callaway, to put together the necessary documentation for presentation to the Board of Commissioners for their consideration and support. Callaway enlisted the pen of Jere Beery to write the proposed ballot question. The Cook County Board of Commissioners passed Peraica’s resolution and his referendum placing the veteran’s healthcare funding question on the primary election ballot which was held on February 5, 2008.

The Coalition of Veterans Organizations, (CVO), was instrumental in promoting the full funding question in Illinois. CVO is based in Chicago Illinois, and represents an impressive group of veteran service organizations in their state, to include; AMVETS - (Chicago Chapter), Filipino American Veterans of Illinois, Korean War Veterans of America, Montford Point Marine Assoc. - (Chicago Chapter), National Women Veterans United, Veterans for Unification, Veterans Strike Force, just to name a few. To view the entire coalition, visit;

CVO Chairman, Bruce Parry, said the response from the general public was very positive and this issue inspired many veterans to register to vote that have never voted before now. Parry said that this was a historic opportunity for the people of Illinois to send a clear message to the next administration, regardless of political affiliation; we expect our government to provide mandated full funding to insure quality and accessible healthcare for our men and women in uniform.

Full mandatory funding of veteran’s healthcare is not a new idea. The concept has been around for the past two decades. However, what is new is the aggressive and focused grassroots tactics used by OFFE to capture nationwide public opinion and pressure our Congress into passing full mandated funding for the VA into law. Thus far, no other national veterans’ service organization has conquered as much ground or gained as much public support on the issue as Operation Firing For Effect. And Gene Simes and the OFFE Team do not appear to be letting-up on accomplishing their objectives anytime soon.

In addition to the Illinois effort, Operation Firing For Effect has inspired a growing number of politicians and civic organizations to adopt the full mandated funding concept. Last month, the New York State Senate unanimously passed a resolution based on OFFE’s original resolution calling for full mandated funding of the VA. The OFFE Crusade has also gained the endorsement of well-known celebrities, Willie Nelson and Bill Cosby, both veterans of U.S. military service. Oregon Governor, Ted Kulongoski was one of the first political leaders to sign OFFE’s resolution for full funding of veterans’ healthcare. The Great State of New Mexico embraced the OFFE concept as well. Governor, Bill Richardson, Lieutenant Governor, Diane Denish, Albuquerque Mayor, Martin Chavez and Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Veterans Affairs, John Garcia have all endorsed OFFE’s Crusade for full funding of veteran’s healthcare and services. In addition, last week, the New Mexico State Senate followed suit and passed the very same resolution.

OFFE is currently collecting signatures in California on a statewide petition which would place the same VA funding question on their statewide November general election ballot. OFFE needs to collect 500,000 signatures before the April 30th deadline. If you live in California, and wish to help us collect the necessary signatures, contact California, Director of Operations, Rusty Rustan at; 949-705-7009.

Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn & CVO will hold a Press Conference to announce the
outstanding Super Tuesday victory at the polls will be on:

Sunday, February 10th, 1:30 PM , Thompson Center--State of Illinois Building
100 W Randolph (Clark & Randolph)
Enter on LaSalle 15th Floor Blue Room

Please come out one more time!! Wear your hats and T-Shirts!!
Celebrate our victory!!
Over 1,000,000 Illinoisans voted for Mandatory Full Funding of VA Healthcare!!

Call others and tell them to come!!
Bruce Parry, CVO Chair, 773-395-3559

Operation Firing For Effect is a veteran’s advocacy group and subsidiary of
Veterans For Veteran Connection, Inc., a registered non-profit corporation
devoted to the improvement and protection of services and entitlements
earned by our men and women in uniform. All donations are tax deductible.

Now you can donate to the OFFE Crusade for full mandated funding of
veteran’s healthcare online!

Visit WWW.OFFE2008.ORG

Look for the Donation Button on the left-hand side of our homepage!

Together, we will make 2008 the ‘Year of the Veteran’
Jere Beery, OFFE Public Relations Director

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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