19 March 2010

Georgia Gold Star Family License Plate Bill languishes in Committee

On this, the anniversary of the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, a note from Robert Stokely on Georgia HB 1012.

This week I was interviewed by CNN about the anniversary of the war in Iraq. I was asked a question that is one of the most often asked questions - Was Iraq Worth It. My response was to share this youtube video clip from a trip to DC a few years ago when I was asked without preparation or warning to speak:

Sometimes it just isn't easy getting civilians onboard with simplest of means to honor our fallen and giving survivors even a little ground to remain connected to the soldier they lost. Georgia Bill HB 1012 would amend original legislation I helped with in 2006, and is introduced in our State Legislature by my good friend Billy Horne. Horne called me today and not sure what has happened, but what seemed a no brainer seems to have hit a snag. The bill only allows for the children, sibilings and parents by marriage (step-parents) to also purchase the speciality license plate to honor their family member killed in action. It also would allow the existing family members who can get the tag for free to purchase additional tags if they own more than one vehicle - spouse, mother, father.

The bill is revenue neutral at worst, and actually will bring more money into the state treasury. Yet, today, Rep. Tom Rice, Chairman of the Motor Vehicle Committee House Representatives, allowed other tag legislation to pass on through but did not bring this for consideration. It has sat idle in his committee since February 1. I am extremely concerned about this seemingly lack of concern, or at best laid back approach to honoring the fallen from Georgia, especially our Georgia National Guardsmen and their families. The following link has Rep. Rice's contact info:


You know, I was willing to give a son for Iraq, and America. I have never questioned whether Iraq or America was worth it. I haven't blamed anyone or been bitter. But today, hearing this news, it is very hard for me to control my feelings of whether or not some people get it, especially those who would have to do virtually nothing at no cost to give our Georgia Fallen and their entire family full access to a license plate that identifies us as family of the fallen. At present, the spouse, mother and father get one free. The children, siblings, and parents by marriage are banned altogether. If Mike were here, he would say this "you want me and some of my guys to go have a talk with them dad?" Thing is, I would have to say no because talking is not what would be on his mind when it came to someone messing with his family.

Sorry so long winded, but I just needed to get it off my chest. If you would like to help, make a call to Rep. Rice at the Capitol in Atlanta and ask him to get HB 1012 passed out of his committee, then push it through Rules and then vote for it on the House Floor. I'd consider it a great favor and be in your debt.

Robert Stokely
proud dad SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq

1 comment:

lisa-in-dc said...

MP- thanks for posting.

Almost speechless.  You and all our Gold Star family members deserve so much better.  Thought Georgians were ahead of the curve on "gettting it", but it appears not.  And really, this seems petty.
Saying a prayer that wisdom prevails,