Coleman Nee Named Secretary of Veterans' Services
"Coleman Nee will continue be a strong advocate for Massachusetts veterans as Secretary of Veterans' Services," said Governor Deval Patrick. "His demonstrated ability to build diverse partnerships within the veterans' community and his commitment to streamlining services will ensure that Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in supporting the men and women who have served our country and our Commonwealth."
"Coleman has been a vital part of our efforts to support veterans from across the Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, who chairs the Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans' Services. "Under Coleman's guidance, we will continue to be a national leader in supporting our veterans, particularly those who return from service in Iraq and Afghanistan."
"As Secretary, Coleman Nee will continue to build coalitions and partnerships that will ensure that Massachusetts veterans receive the benefits and supports they so richly deserve," said Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby. "Coleman is an effective and committed advocate who is ready to address the many unique challenges of serving newly returning veterans."
As Secretary, Nee will continue to work with federal, state and municipal partners, veteran service officers and organizations to increase the effective and efficiency of providing benefits to veterans and families; expand the Massachusetts Women's Veterans' Network to meet the needs of this growing segment of the veterans population; and address the issue of homelessness among veterans to provide all homeless persons who have served their country with an opportunity for permanent shelter and services that will support them in becoming self-sufficient and healthy.
The Patrick-Murray Administration has shown an unfailing commitment to Massachusetts veterans and their families. Despite an unprecedented national economic collapse that has required budget reductions across state government, Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray have preserved funding for veterans' services. In 2009, Governor Patrick authorized expanded benefits for veterans, including increased cash bonuses for service members who serve multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, service members stationed abroad can now cast electronic ballots for elections; service-disabled veterans are now included within the existing preferences for hiring of veterans for construction and public-works contracts; and a "Medal of Liberty" has been established that will be awarded to the next of kin of any Massachusetts servicemember killed in action or who dies as a result of wounds received while in action.
As Undersecretary of the Department of Veterans' Services, Nee has overseen a number of new initiatives to increase access to services available for veterans, including the over 30,000 returning Massachusetts veterans from the Global War on Terror. Nee oversaw the creation of the Statewide Advocacy for Veterans' Empowerment (SAVE) program, a first-in-the-nation initiative to support veterans and their families coping with the stresses of returning from war and assist them in obtaining veterans benefits and services. He also directed the team that has successfully competed for over $1 million in federal workforce development funds to train and place veterans in employment, and led new outreach efforts to homeless veterans and families, the Women's Veterans Network, and disabled veterans.
Prior to his service with the Commonwealth, Nee has worked in the fields of public policy advocacy and corporate communications for over 20 years. He is a member of the American Legion's George H. Mealy Post 118 in Cohasset. In 2001 and 2006, Mr. Nee was an Executive Member of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Convention Committee, which succeeded in bringing the society to Boston for its annual convention twice in five years.
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