This week, Governor Eric Greitens made several announcements regarding Missouri’s military personnel and veterans. On Tuesday, the Governor announced that Missouri’s National Guard is growing by nearly 800 jobs, with new units being stood up across the state of Missouri.

“We’re growing Missouri’s National Guard! We announced that we’re expanding our Guard by nearly 800 jobs, with new units all over the state. This is a great opportunity for Missourians who want to earn a paycheck, benefits, scholarships—and learn important lessons about service and leadership,” said Governor Greitens.

“We also met with young men and women of the Missouri guard who are soon deploying to the Middle East. They have an important mission. Like all Guardsmen, they protect, serve, and defend our values and liberties, wherever there is a need. They make us all proud.

Want to do something to make your family, community, and country proud? Join the Guard. You’ll be part of America’s oldest fighting force. You’ll do important and meaningful work around the world. And you’ll join some of the finest men and women I know.”

On Wednesday, at a visit to RoKC Climbing in Kansas City, Governor Greitens announced his proposal to end business start-up fees for returning veterans. RoKC was founded by Andrew Potter, a former Captain in the 75th Ranger Regiment, who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan.

“Let’s say you come out of the Army as a military police officer or a criminal investigations special agent and you want to start a business as a private investigator in the state of Missouri. First, you’d have to pay a $400 fee to get your private investigator license. Then you’d have to pay another $500 fee to open the agency. Then you’d have to pay the state $105 to register. Before you’ve even paid local fees, insurance, and opened an office, you’re out $1,000 of your military pay,” said Governor Greitens.

“That’s wrong. Our veterans have paid a lot in blood and sweat and sacrifice. They shouldn’t have to pay the government to create jobs here in Missouri.

Today I was proud to visit a terrific veteran-owned business in Kansas City, and announce that we’re doing something to fix this. ROKC Climbing in Kansas City was founded by Andrew Potter, a former Captain in the 75th Ranger Regiment, who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan. It’s a great small business that’s creating jobs and an incredible community for veterans and first responders. We want more returning veterans to make Missouri home and create jobs here.

This year, we’ll be pushing to get rid of business start-up fees for veterans coming home to our state. We’ll be pursuing legislation and working from the executive branch to support the men and women who have sacrificed for all of us. It’s the right thing to do.”

On Thursday, in St. Louis, Governor Greitens announced that he will be pushing for a bill to allow businesses to have a veterans hiring preference. He highlighted the proposal while working with veteran firefighters at the St. Louis Fire Department, which has used a veterans hiring preference to recruit talented and dedicated professionals.

“We need to create more jobs for veterans here in Missouri,” said Governor Greitens.

“There’s a common-sense step that a lot of states have taken that, for too long, Missouri has ignored.

A lot of businesses want to create what’s called a “hiring preference” for veterans.

That means if multiple people apply for a job, businesses can choose to hire someone who’s served their country and learned the lessons and skills that come with military service.

Unfortunately, there are some people out there who say it’s discriminatory or prejudiced.Trial lawyers can put a small business owner in court, and force them to defend their life’s work, just for saying they want to hire veterans.

That’s wrong. And we want to change it.

The Civil Rights Act makes it clear that if a state steps up and says that businesses are allowed to say they want to hire veterans, then it’s OK. The majority of states have done this. Missouri has not.

This year, we’ll be pushing legislation to allow businesses to have a hiring preference for veterans. It just makes sense. Here’s the good news. Public safety professionals have used veterans’ preferences as a tool for years! It’s helped them to find some great recruits.

They have that policy here at the St. Louis Fire Department and it’s been a great success. I just spent some time working with some of the guys here who are former servicemen. They make a huge difference in this department. We’re lucky to have them serving us here in Missouri.

This is a common-sense proposal. It works for public safety, and it can work for Missouri’s businesses. This is an important thing for us to get done this year, and I’m looking forward to pushing hard for it.”

All of this work is part of fulfilling the Governor’s promise to make Missouri “the best state in the country for our veterans.”