72 Legislators and Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Sign Markley Letter Aiding Veterans

April 30, 2013

Hartford, CT – A letter penned by Senator Joe Markley (R-Southington), requesting that Home Depot and Lowes honor Connecticut’s new Veterans’ ID program, has attracted the signatures of seventy-two of his legislative colleagues, including leaders and members of both political parties.

“The state now recognizes our veterans by placing an American Flag insignia on their driver’s licenses,” Markley explained. “That marking is intended to help businesses establish eligibility for various discounts, programs, and services available to our veteran. Unfortunately, Home Depot and Lowes do not recognize our state designation, and insist on a federally issued ID in order for veterans to qualify for the special consideration they deserve.”

Markley and his colleagues believe that the state system effectively and reliably identifies veterans. As they explain in their letter to the companies, “This law requires all veterans who wish to apply for this designation and recognition to fill out an application with the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA). Once it is determined that the person qualifies as a veteran, the VA notifies the Department of Motor Vehicles, which then places the American Flag on the license. Only those with the American Flag on their driver’s license are verified veterans.”

Home Depot has publically stated that it will restrict veterans’ discounts to customers who present Department of Defense ID showing they are active duty troops, reserves, or retired from the military. Stephen Holmes, a spokesman for the company, stated in an email to a local television reporter that “We don’t have any plans at this time to change our ID policy in Connecticut, primarily because we try to keep our policies consistent across all stores, rather than making exceptions state by state.”

“If big corporations want to be good neighbors, I think they should try to adapt themselves to local circumstances,” said Markley. “We are proud of our veterans, and we have instituted a program that makes it easy for the men and women who have served to receive the special consideration they deserve. We hope Lowes and Home Depot will honor our veterans and embrace this program.

“The overwhelming legislative support for my petition should speak loudly at the corporate headquarters. I can’t remember ever seeing so many members of the General Assembly signed on to any petition. I very much appreciate this bipartisan support, which is testimony to our desire to do right by our veterans.”
Both Connecticut’s Commissioner of Veterans Affairs and Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner have weighed in on the controversy publically.

There is another large segment of honorably discharged veterans who served their country and deserve the same recognition, even though they did not make military service a career or receive disabling injuries. – Commissioner Linda S. Schwartz.

They should look at our document because it is verified by the Department of Veterans Affairs as well as DMV that you are who you are. – Melody Currey, DMV Commissioner.

Click here for the letter to Home Depot and Lowes CEO’s signed by General Assembly members and the Commissioner of Veterans Affairs