Letter from the Chairwoman: Introducing VLB Chairwoman Dawn Buckingham, M.D.
It is my honor to begin this year as the new Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) Chairwoman, a role in which I can continue pursuing one of my greatest passions — supporting this state’s Veterans. As the only program of its kind in the U.S., the VLB stands out as a model to the nation, by providing low interest loans to our veterans who want to buy a house, buy land or renovate their home. The VLB’s mission to provide the best benefits to the men and women who have selflessly served this country is one that touches my heart.
As a descendent of Texas’ first pioneers, I inherited a love for this state and nation that instilled in me an unwavering respect for those who have served in the U.S. armed forces. Like any true patriot, I believe that this country is the home of the free because of the brave. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our service members and Veterans. While my time as the VLB Chairwoman has just begun, my tenure as a Texas State Senator demonstrates my long-standing support for the men and women who have valiantly dedicated their lives to defending our nation.
As senator, I took a special interest in legislation that affected Veterans. During the 87th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, I supported Senate Bill 794 that would ensure one hundred percent service-connected disabled Veterans received the correct one hundred percent property tax exemption. During the third Special Session of the same legislative session, I secured $35 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for the General Land Office and VLB to modernize and replace the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning systems in all State Veterans Homes after the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the aging systems.
As a member of the Texas Senate from the 24th district, I represented the men and women stationed at Fort Hood and Dyess Air Force Base. It was a privilege to represent them, and an honor to serve the most populated and largest military post in Texas. While these experiences taught me a great deal about the lives and needs of Veterans, serving as Chairwoman for the VLB will allow me to work directly with pioneers in the world of Veteran services.
For more than 75 years, the VLB has offered the nation’s best benefits to Veterans, Military Members, and their families in the Lone Star State. Over the years, the VLB has cultivated a wide range of services and programs that benefit Veterans and transform their quality of life. From the Texas Veterans Housing Assistance and Texas Veterans Home Improvement programs, which offer Veterans low-interest loans, to our nine, soon to be 10, State Veterans Homes and four State Veterans cemeteries, which care for and honor these Texans, VLB benefits improve the circumstances of all Texas Veterans.
The men and women, who work at the VLB and dedicate their careers to serving Veterans, strive to maintain these services and ensure every Texas Veteran is aware of, and has access to, all the benefits they have earned. Their dedication to Texas Veterans is deeply inspiring and I look forward to working with them to continue this legacy.
As I begin the next chapter in my service to the people of Texas, I am extremely thankful that I can continue to make a difference in the lives of Texas Veterans through my work at the VLB. Know that I will fight for you and always do what is right, not just convenient. Texas Veterans, I will not let you down.
Chairwoman Dawn Buckingham, M.D.