WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, applauded committee passage of his legislation that would expand federal hiring preferences to include fathers of service members who have been killed in action or permanently and totally disabled. The Gold Star Fathers Act of 2014 – introduced by Brown following a conversation with a Canton father who lost his son in Iraq – passed out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“The loss of a loved one is never easy,” Brown said. “But when a service member is killed in action or permanently and totally disabled, the government should do its part to be there for grieving parents—no matter if they’re fathers or mothers. By passing out of committee, the Gold Star Fathers Act is one step closer to becoming law and ensuring that fathers receive the same preferences as mothers and spouses. The Senate must act to pass this legislation as soon as possible.”
Brown’s legislation is the result of efforts by Canton resident and gold star father, Scott Warner. Warner’s son, Heath, was killed in action in Iraq in November 2006 during his deployment as a U.S. Marine. Following the death of his son, Warner became involved with a local gold star family support group. At a community meeting in Canton, Warner presented his experiences to a representative from Brown’s office.
Currently, gold star mothers and unmarried widows and widowers receive a ten point hiring preference for federal employment, similar to the federal hiring preferences given to veterans. The Gold Star Fathers Act of 2014 amends federal code to provide fathers of deceased or permanently and totally disabled service members with the same hiring preferences as mothers, widows, and widowers.
In July, Brown joined Warner and Jon Reiss, the Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County Veterans Service Commission at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Cleveland to call attention to the legislation and urge Congress to move swiftly toward passing the bill.
As the only Ohio Senator to serve a full term on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and a member of the 2014 veterans’ conference committee to negotiate comprehensive reforms, Brown has been a staunch advocate for Ohio’s veterans and families. Brown has held more than 200 roundtables throughout the state and in 2012 held a Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Field Hearing in Columbus.