Today, Oregon's Governor, Theodore Kulongoski, held a press conference at the Anderson Readiness Center in Salem, Ore.
The event was attended by a number of representatives from local news agencies, the Governor's Office, and Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, The Adjutant General, Oregon National Guard.
He spoke about his recent visit with Oregon's citizen-soldiers who are deployed to Iraq. Kulongoski was very impressed with the work of the 41 Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
"They and Col. Hokanson are doing a tremendous job," he said.
The governor called on Oregonians and the rest of Americans to help both the Iraqis and Afghanis with both economic and political issues. We have to help them develop their own economies, he said.
"You can't have success in Afghanistan unless you have political success," Kulongoski said.
He said the road ahead for President Barack Obama is going to be a tough one, and any increase of troops in Afghanistan will translate into a long-term committment to the region.
Regardless of how we proceed, he called for the recogintion of service by all National Guard soldiers.
"This country has to rally around its young men and women when it sends them into conflict," he said.
He said when he spoke to Oregon's soldiers on his trip, they asked him about job prospects and the local economy in Oregon. With the national unemployment rate at 10.2 percent, it's going to be a difficult time, he said.
"Go back to school," he said, referring to recent changes in the GI Bill. "Take advantage of these educational opportunities. This is a win-win for Oregon and for our military members," he added.
The governor supports proposals by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, for a 'soft landing' initiative for returning soldiers. The proposal will keep demobilizing soldiers on active duty for up to 90 days so they can transition back into their civilian jobs and life back home.
"Their mission is not over when they get home," the governor said. "It's our mission to provide them what they need to readjust."
Posted by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager