Skip to main content

Mayor Gloria Announces Formation of Military, Veteran and Families Advisory Council



Monday,Nov. 8,2021


SAN DIEGOJust ahead of Veterans Day, Mayor Todd Gloria today announced the formation of his new Military, Veteran and Families Advisory Council with the goal of making San Diego the most welcoming city in the nation for the military, veterans and their families.

Our military servicemembers and veterans, along with their families, are intrinsic to the fabric of San Diego it's a huge part of who we are as a city and region, Mayor Todd Gloria said. We have a responsibility to ensure our city continues to cultivate a supportive environment to help those who have served as well those who have supported them. I want to thank each of them for stepping forward once again to serve and make sure our city is the best it can be for our military community.

The Military, Veteran and Families Advisory Council will meet quarterly and advise the Mayor on ways to actively support the local military, veterans and their families. As their first formal action, the Military, Veteran and Families Advisory Council will review the City of San Diegos current policies and procedures and propose new opportunities for the City to connect, mobilize and empower San Diegos Veteran and military communities, as well as their caregivers.

San Diego owes a debt of gratitude to our residents who have served in the military and their families, said Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn, representative for District 3. They have contributed greatly to our city. Like Mayor Gloria, I want their input on how we can make San Diego an even better place to live.

Made up of eight females and seven males, the group includes representation from each service branch, as well as representatives spanning the continuum of those with lived experiences, including a transitioning active duty to veteran status representative, veteran small business owner, a military spouse, and a veteran and military family caregiver.

The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) administers programs and benefits to the states approximately 1.6 million veterans, CalVet Secretary Dr. Vito Imbasciani said. Local leadership plays a vital role when we welcome our veterans home and helps to make California the greatest state in the nation for our veterans to live and work. I look forward to working with Mayor Gloria and offer my departments support in this endeavor.

List of Participating Members:

  1. Cinnamon Clark (Navy)
  2. Brittany Fuller (Caregiver)
  3. Jodie Grenier (Marines Corps)
  4. Jim Gruny (Marine Corps)
  5. Jack Harkins (Marine Corps)
  6. Adam Heyde (Navy)
  7. Nina Sughrue Hutton (Military Spouse)
  8. Keshia Javis-Jones (Marine Corps)
  9. Ashish Yosh Kakkad (Air Force)
  10. RanDee McLain (Navy)
  11. Pegah Parsi (Army)
  12. Holly Shaffner (Coast Guard)
  13. Dixon Smith (Navy)
  14. Hideaki Leo Tanaka (Air Force)
  15. Shawn VanDiver (Navy)

What others are saying:

San Diego has a storied history as a welcoming home for military families and veterans, and Im proud to see Mayor Gloria recommitting the city to upholding that tradition, said U.S. Congressman Mike Levin. As Vice-Chair of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Ill continue to advocate for our local veterans and military families, and I look forward to supporting the work of this diverse advisory council.

Military service members, veterans and their families are an integral part of San Diegos identity. Embracing any and all opportunities to build upon our connections with our military and veteran neighbors is essential, said U.S. Congressman Scott Peters. This advisory committee will provide valuable feedback to ensure that San Diego meets the needs of our military-connected community. I thank Mayor Gloria for his proactive leadership and look forward to continually supporting those who are stepping up to serve on behalf of our national defense.

San Diego is a proud military and veteran community, said U.S. Congresswoman Sara Jacobs. Their talent, experience and sense of service are a big part of what makes San Diego a great place to live. At every level of government, from the City of San Diego to the federal government in Washington, we need to be doing more for our veterans and servicemembers. As a member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel, supporting servicemembers, veterans and their families is a top priority of mine. I applaud Mayor Gloria for launching the Military, Veterans and Families Advisory Council and look forward to working with Mayor Gloria to fully support San Diegos military community.

The California Military Council was created to protect and expand the military's vital role in national security and the California economy, said Vice Admiral Jody Breckenridge, USCG (Ret.), Chair of Governor Gavin Newsoms Military Council. In working challenges with the bases of California, we find that we are often creating innovative partnerships and/or helping to address broader issues affecting the local community. I applaud Mayor Gloria's initiative creating the Military, Veteran and Families Advisory Council which recognizes the integral role the military plays in San Diego. The Council looks forward to working with the Mayor and the Advisory Council to address issues, innovate and leverage opportunities.

San Diego is the Nations best military town and the establishment of this Military, Veterans, and Families Advisory Council will make us even better, said Mark Balmert, President and CEO of the San Diego Military Advisory Coalition. I applaud Mayor Glorias effort in this area, it is another example of the Mayor taking action that helps our local military.

On behalf of the San Diego Veterans Coalition and our 150-plus member and participating organizations, businesses and agencies, and the many thousands we collectively serve, I extend our sincere gratitude to Mayor Gloria and the City of San Diego for establishing the San Diego Military, Veteran and Family Advisory Council, said Ron Stark, President of the San Diego Veterans Coalition. Anytime the military, veterans and their families are acknowledged, considered, regarded and valued in such a profound way, it reminds others and us how integral we are to the rich fabric of San Diego. Establishing this council is a hearty display of San Diegos collective gratitude and respect for our service and sacrifice, and it shows us that San Diego sincerely Welcomes us to the communities where we live, work, go to school and play. This is truly a great day!