A state senate-formed commission to study Maine veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals when they served at a military support base in Canada will hold its first meeting in Augusta on Wednesday.
The Gagetown Harmful Chemical Study Commission was established under a new law sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash. Jackson said that he introduced the measure after hearing from constituents regarding health concerns following military service at the base in Gagetown, New Brunswick.
“For too long, the cries of the Maine Guardsmen who served at the Canadian military support base in Gagetown and were exposed to harmful chemicals have been ignored,” said Jackson in a statement this week. “Over the next month, this Commission will elevate these voices, examine steps taken by the Canadian government to right this wrong, and chart a path forward.”
The 10-member joint commission is chaired by Jackson and Rep. Ron Russell, D-Verona Island.
The majority of the members appointed to the commission are from Aroostook County and include veterans who served at Gagetown and were harmed by the chemicals, representatives of veterans advocacy organizations, a family member of a veteran who served at Gagetown and someone with experience processing veterans claims for benefits related to harmful chemicals.