East Boston State Representative Carlo Basile was appointed to his first chairmanship since being elected to office.
Speaker Robert DeLeo appointed Basile chairman of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs last week.
“I am honored and humbled by the faith and confidence that Speaker DeLeo has shown in me with this appointment,” said Basile. “I have always held those who serve our country in the highest regard and I pledge to do all I can to advocate for our veteran community here in the Commonwealth.”
Basile has long been a champion for veterans and their causes.
Last month the Massachusetts Veterans Service Officers Association (MVSOA) named Basile Legislator of the Year last week for his work on behalf of veterans across the state.
Last year, Basile filed legislation that would force the state to financially aid returning veterans who have been injured in combat and lost limbs or the use of limbs while serving their country.
“It breaks my heart to see our returning veterans, those who have sacrificed so much for all of us and our country, struggle even more to re-acclimate themselves to life after service,” said Basile. “These men and women have suffered terrible injuries to protect us all and we must do all we can to help them regain their independence and live their lives to the fullest.”
Basile added an amendment to Chapter 115 of the General Laws by inserting language that would allow returning veterans the ability to apply for financial help and receive benefits for the purpose of home modification from the Commonwealth.
The benefits provided to veterans will be used to provide any modification, including but not limited to, special fixtures or movable facilities made necessary by the nature of the veteran’s disability. These benefits will be available for the modification of every owner-occupied or rented dwelling, dwelling unit, mobile dwelling unit or rooming house in which the wounded veteran resides.
The benefits, said Basile, will be capped at $75,000 for veteran that qualifies for the financial assistance.
The bill did not pass during the last legislative session but that has not deterred Basile.
“I intend to re-file a piece of legislation that will require the Commonwealth to provide up to $75,000 worth of home modifications for veterans who have lost a limb or the use of a limb while serving in the military,” said Basile. “Right now, Massachusetts leads the country when it comes to veteran support programs, but that is not enough. The sacrifices these men and women make should be repaid to them tenfold, and that is why we must continue to ensure that their rights are protected and improved.”
Basile was inspired to become involved in veteran affairs by his friend, Andrew Biggio, a leading figure at the East Boston ITAMs. Biggio is a veteran of two tours – one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He started the Wounded Veterans Bike Run after returning home from his second tour.
With Basile’s help and support, last year’s Vet Run raised $85,000 for Cpl. Evan Reichenthal of Princeton, Mass and Cpl. Greg Caron of Connecticut.
The event brought over 1,000 motorcyclists and veteran supporters to Eastie on Saturday, April 28 to raise money for home modification for Reichenthal and Caron—two soldiers that loss limbs while serving in Afghanistan.
“Carlo (Basile) is one of those guys you can call on the phone and tell him you have a wounded veteran or a veteran that recently returned home from active duty that needs help and he’ll do anything he can to lend a hand,” said Biggio. “He’s done so much to make the Vet Run a success and this year’s fundraiser will be no different with his help.”