A strong supporter of the military and veterans, Kirk has introduced over 120 pieces of legislation in support of veterans, the military, and their families – more than 20% of the total legislation that he has introduced during his tenure in the House of Delegates.
His efforts in this area started in 1993 and have spanned his career. He’s addressed issues such as eliminating VA taxes on military death gratuity payments to survivors, gave veterans credit in the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) for their service in the armed forces, and passed Wounded Warrior legislation that provides support for veterans suffering brain and stress related injuries. In 1996 he was one of the first legislators in the country to introduce legislation to provide tax relief to military personnel serving in Bosnia. That same year, he introduced landmark legislation to provide tax relief for junior military members from Virginia.
Kirk’s efforts to provide income tax relief to lower ranking military personnel took four years to accomplish. Like our men and women in uniform, he did not give up until his mission was accomplished. His foresight provided authority for building and later for the expansion of the Sitter & Barfoot Health Care Center that enabled Virginia to take advantage of federal construction funds when they became available. He also introduced legislation providing for authority for a 240-bed Veterans Care Center in the Hampton Roads area and another one in Northern Virginia. During the 2015 Session, Congressman Forbes and Whitman and members of the House Armed Services Committee came to the General Assembly to stand in support of Kirk’s veterans care center legislation. He also championed funding and recognition of the Quartermaster Museum at Fort Lee, and several bills and budget amendments that funded the expansion of the War Memorial into what is now the Paul and Phyllis Galanti Education Center.
To ensure veterans receive their earned benefits, Kirk successfully sponsored bills to increase the number of claims representatives in the Department of Veterans Services and to continue funding for the automated claims processing system, BENEVETS. Through his efforts as a Budget Conferee he was instrumental in providing $300,000.00 for the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) program to help veterans find jobs.
Based on his strong and continuing support, Kirk is recognized as a leader in the General Assembly for military and veterans affairs. He is the chairman of the War of 1812 Commission and Chairman of the World War II 75th Anniversary Commemoration Commission. He has also served as a member of the Board of Veteran Services, and currently serves as the Chairman of the Virginia Council on the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. He has also been a key source of advice and review for veterans services organizations such as the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and he has served as an advisor to the Joint Leadership Council (JLC). Over the years, he has been the chief patron for many of the JLC legislative objectives supported by 23 veterans’ services organizations representing 250,000 Virginia veterans.
Recognition for Outstanding Legislative Achievements
- Department of the Army Public Service Award (1998)
- Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Award (1998)
- Selective Service Meritorious Service Award/Medal (2002)
- VA National Guard Medal of Merit (2004)
- State American Legion Distinguished Service Award (2005)
- State Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Support Award (2005 & 2007)
- Legislator of the Year: Virginia Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) (2006)
- Joint Leadership Council – Veterans Services Organizations Service Award (2006 & 2008)
- National Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) President’s Award (2008)
- VA Council of Chapters MOAA – Outstanding Service Award (2011)
- VA Chamber Military and Veterans Affairs Advocate Award (2014 & 2015)
Here in Virginia we are proud of our men and women who have served our nation. Almost 800,000 veterans currently live and work in the Commonwealth, contributing to our communities and economy. The Department of Veteran Services has created a Virginia Veteran Resources Guide to help navigate all the programs and services they offer to our veterans. They stand ready to help all veterans continue their service as productive and honored citizens of the great Commonwealth of Virginia.