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I am a veteran of the Vietnam War, an eight-year state senator representing rural and urban areas in Montana, and a Montana rancher. For me, Veterans Day is more than a date on the calendar.

Of the many reasons I am supporting Kimberly Dudik for Montana attorney general, one of the most important to me is her past work to honor and support veterans in our state. Serving in the Legislature with Representative Dudik, I know that she makes good veterans’ policy because she knows the challenges they face and has worked tirelessly to address them.

From financial scams to homelessness and underemployment, trauma and suicide to lack of access to comprehensive health care, Dudik knows that the challenges veterans face in Montana are too important to not act. Known for her ability to cross party lines and work with everyone, Dudik has been a vocal supporter and advocate of the more than 98,000 veterans who live in Montana.

In Helena, Dudik supported legislation that expanded access to military services in Montana by increasing the number of service offices in the state, reformed veterans’ treatment courts, and improved outreach to underserved veterans, especially in Indian country. To expand veterans’ access to education, Dudik supported legislation that allowed veterans to apply the skills and training they received in service for college credits, professional certification and commercial driver’s licenses. She also supported a bill that grants scholarships to Purple Heart recipients to honor their service. To address employment challenges veterans face, Dudik spearheaded legislation that supports veteran-owned businesses through trade and marketing assistance, as well as a skill-building and training program for veterans.

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I wrote and passed Senate Bill 326, which inaugurated the Montana Veterans’ Home Loan Mortgage Program, and Dudik was a champion of this bill from Day One. The Montana Veterans’ Home Loan Mortgage Act addresses homelessness by easing payments on closing costs as well as increasing the amount of state funds available for this vital program. She even made sure that our service members overseas were able to register and vote using a secure digital signature.

I know that as our next attorney general, Dudik will continue to make strides for veterans on health care, housing, employment and much more — because she has the proven experience. From her background as a nurse, attorney and state representative, Dudik has dedicated her career to putting people above politics — including our veterans. As our next attorney general, Dudik will protect and expand veterans’ access to health care by holding prescription drug and insurance companies accountable, safeguard our information from consumer scams that target veterans, and protect veterans from foreclosure and homelessness by holding big banks accountable in court.

The choice for Montana attorney general is clear — no one else in the race, on either side, has the experience delivering results for veterans that Kimberly Dudik does. Join me this Veterans Day in supporting Kimberly Dudik for Montana attorney general and elect a fearless and qualified veterans' advocate in 2020.

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Cliff Larsen is a retired businessman, rancher and two-term Montana state senator. He served in southeast Asia during the Vietnam War with the Army's 25th Infantry Division in Infantry Intelligence and was deployed in 1962 serving in Thailand.

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