In 2020, Veterans’ posts were part of an executive order implementing a statewide shutdown to address the spread of COVID-19. When the state allowed a partial reopening to occur, veterans’ posts were not allowed to resume operations. Because veterans’ posts have restricted liquor licenses, they were mistakenly classified as bars, which put them at the back of the line for reopening. For months, the shuttering of posts prevented thousands of California veterans from accessing the help they need, including applying for benefits, connecting to mental health and healthcare services, and more.
The California State Commanders Veterans Council (CSCVC) is one of Callahan Public Affairs pro-bono clients. CSCVC is comprised of the leadership of California’s major veterans service organizations (VSOs) and acts as the collective voice for California’s veterans. Concerned for the well-being of the veterans who rely on services provided by posts, CSCVC leadership made it a priority to bring attention to the state’s misclassification of posts and the negative impact their continued closure was having on California veterans.
Working closely with CSCVC leadership and its contract lobbying firm, CPA managed the grassroots and press efforts to highlight the issue. CPA’s work generated significant media attention, including multiple television segments, print and online stories and radio segments, as well as widespread engagement from California’s veteran community.
CPA’s work included:
Ultimately the activity resulted in the Governor’s office reaching out to CSCVC to discuss the issue and potential solutions.