Blue Ribbon Commission on Veteran Opportunity

​​The Blue Ribbon Commission on Veteran Opportunity commission was announced during Governor Tony Evers 2022 State of the State address and created in the days following by Executive Order #157. The commission was charged with developing comprehensive, long-term efforts to support Wisconsin's more than 300,000 veterans and address challenges they may face, including increased risk for economic and housing insecurity, mental and behavioral health needs, and substance use disorders, among other challenges, which is essential for ensuring the well-being of the state's veterans and supporting their success and opportunity.

This commission used a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to identify gaps in existing services, opportunities for robust investment, areas for additional collaboration with federal and private partners, and obstacles to receiving services and program benefits designed for veterans, while reducing barriers to higher education, job training, employment, healthcare, and affordable housing, among other key areas. Under Executive Order #157, the commission presented a final report of recommendations to the governor’s office for potential inclusion in the governor’s forthc​oming 2023-25 biennial budget proposal. The final meeting of the commission was August 31, 2022. 

 Blue Ribbon Commission on Veteran Opportunity Final Report

Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Veteran Opportunity

  • Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) Secretary Mary Kolar, U.S. Navy, retired, Co-Chair
  • Department of Administration (DOA) Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld, Co-Chair 
  • State Sen. Jeff Smith (D-Brunswick) 
  • State Sen. Joan Ballweg (R-​Markesan)​
  • State Rep. Deb Andraca (D-Whitefish Bay) 
  • Bridget Esser, Legislative Liaison, Department of Military Affairs (DMA) 
  • Al Labelle, U.S. Navy, retired, Wisconsin Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans
  • Nathan Gear, Wisconsin Army National Guard, retired, Executive Director & Department Adjutant, American Legion Department of Wisconsin 
  • Cory Geisler, U.S. Army, retired, Commander, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department of Wisconsin  
  • Jim Strong, U.S. Army, retired, Co-Founder, Wisconsin Veterans Village 
  • Gregg Duffek, U.S. Marine Corps, retired, Tribal Veterans Service Officer, Stockbridge-Munsee Community
  • Rock Larson, U.S. Air Force and Wisconsin Army National Guard, retired, President, County Veterans Service Officers Association of Wisconsin 
  • Yolanda Medina, U.S. Marine Corps, served one tour 1981-1985, Director of Military & Veterans Resource Center, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Matthew Schroeder, Director of Military & Veteran Services, Edgewood College
  • Carolyn Morgan, Wisconsin Air National Guard, served 16 years between Air Guard and active duty, Board Member of Operation Ruck 22
  • Ronald Adams, Wisconsin Army National Guard, retired, Vice President of Field Diversity & Inclusion, Northwestern Mutual
  • Nathaniel Millsap, U.S. Navy, retired, Director of Security & Cyber, Fincantieri Marinette Marine
  • Scott Schultz, U.S. Marine Corps, retired, Assistant Farm Director, WAXX 104.5 FM 
  • Jesse Ehrenfeld M.D., U.S. Navy, retired, Physician Anesthesiologist and Senior Associate Dean, Medical College of Wisconsin 
  • Ying Vang, U.S. Army, Corporate Human Resources Manager, ORC Industries Inc. 
  • Natalie Isensee, U.S. Marine Corps, retired, Manager of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, WPS Health Solutions 
  • Jason Maloney, Wisconsin Army National Guard, retired, Congressional District 7 Representative, Wisconsin Board of Veterans Affairs  
  • Sheri Swokowski, Wisconsin National Guard, served 20 years Army Guard Reserve, retired, Advisory, Modern Military Association of America​