Statehouse Headliners: House honors military victims of suicide, their families

By Guy Page

In a spirit of condolence and appreciation, the Vermont House of Representatives on Tuesday gave a long round of applause to families of Vermont military veterans who were victims of suicide, and to members of the military community who assist troubled veterans and their families.

The applause followed the reading of HCR 115, the resolution designating April as Veterans Suicide Awareness Month. Speaking from the floor, Rep. Vicki Strong (R-Albany), a Gold Star mother, noted that the Veterans’ Flag is flying over the State House in honor of those Vermont veterans who have come home “bearing the invisible wounds of their service, including post-traumatic stress and the loss of their comrades in battle.”

The resolution noted in particular “one Vermonter who is making a personal effort to help lower the veterans’ suicide rate is Valerie Pallotta, whose son Josh was a veteran who succumbed to suicide.” Today would have been Josh’s 30th birthday. Ms. Pallotta “is fundraising to establish Josh’s House Vermont, in her son’s memory as a support facility to help veterans who have suicidal inclinations.”

The House members also stood for a moment of silence in honor of Vermont military victims of suicide.

House Committees this week will tackle several high-profile bills and issues:

  • School student-staff ratio report (Tuesday, Education)
  • H.51 Fossil Fuel Infrastructure (Tuesday, House Energy)
  • H.107 Paid Family Leave (Tuesday, General & Military)
  • S.23 Minimum Wage (Tuesday, General & Military)
  • Addictive Gambling (Thurday, General & Military)
  • H.207 Montpelier non-citizen voting (Tuesday, Gov Ops)
  • S.54 Cannabis tax & regulate (Tuesday, Gov Ops)
  • H.444 Ranked choice voting (Thursday, Gov Ops)
  • Prop 5 Constitutional Amendment on Abortion (Tuesday, Human Services)
  • S.86 Raising smoking age to 21 (Thursday, Human Services)
  • S.169 Firearms (Tuesday, Judiciary, including 5 pm public hearing)

For a complete listing of House committee bills and discussions, see Headliners In Committee This Week.

Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.

Image courtesy of Bruce Parker/TNR