On Thursday, Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman appointed Sen. Frank Simpson to serve as Chairman of the Senate Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. The retired Navy veteran has served as vice-chair of the committee since getting elected in 2010.
“I’m so honored to have been entrusted with this great responsibility. Being a veteran myself, I am very passionate about ensuring that our veterans and their families are taken care of in every possible way. They gave their all for their country and they deserve nothing less in return,” said Simpson. “These men and women have done so much for our nation and it is our responsibility to make sure they have the healthcare, educational and financial services they have rightly earned through their tremendous service and sacrifice.”
Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman praised Simpson’s dedication to Oklahoma’s veterans.
“The Senate and state are fortunate to have such a dedicated public servant like Senator Simpson. He served his country for nearly three decades in the military and he has continued that public service in the legislature,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa. “He has fought tirelessly for Oklahoma’s veterans and I know he will continue to accomplish great things for them as the chair of the Veterans Committee.”
The Springer Republican requested and oversaw an interim study this fall looking into allegations of patient abuse and neglect at the state’s seven veterans’ centers and how services could be improved. The study brought to light various problems within the Department of Veterans Affairs and the War Veterans Commission – many of which have already been addressed by the agency and commission. Simpson and other members of the Senate Veterans Committee will also be filing legislation this session to deal with other issues within the system that have yet to be addressed.
During his two years in office, Simpson has had a number of veterans bills he authored or coauthored signed into law including the Oklahoma Medical Foster Home Act, the Veteran’s Benefit Protection Act, the Wounded Warrior Protection Act; the Post-Military Service Occupation, Education and Credentialing Act; a bill to extend a portion of the sales tax exemption provided to 100% disabled veterans to their unmarried widows; and a bill authorizing the Department of Public Safety to put flag emblems on the licenses or identification cards of veterans designating their special status.
Simpson served in the U.S. Navy for 26 years active duty retiring in 1988. During his naval career, he served on nine sea commands; including a six month deployment with the Multinational Peacekeeping Force in Beirut, Lebanon. He received the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal and numerous other awards and citations.