Builder praises measure that would aid military vets


Salisbury businessman Chris Eccleston is eagerly awaiting passage of House Bill 243, legislation he said will benefit veterans he cares about so deeply.

“Part of the reason my business exists is to hire vets,” said Eccleston, owner of Delmarva Veteran Builders.

The bill, sponsored by Delegate Mary Beth Carozza, R-38C, would increase the amount of business the state gives to veteran-owned businesses from the current 0.5 percent to 5 percent.

About two weeks ago, Eccleston testified in favor of the bill before the House Health and Government Operations Committee in Annapolis, and said he was well received by lawmakers.

When Carozza called him, asking for his support, he immediately agreed and wrote a letter in favor.

“I’m a product of this legislation. It would help give us more incentive in the state, going after state-funded projects and ultimately providing more jobs,” he said.

Currently, 27 states have some type of similar legislation, but the 5 percent goal is one of the highest nationwide, Eccleston said.

“With this legislation, we have the opportunity to provide the American dream. These veterans went out and defended us and we have a chance to see that they come back to a good job and use their skills,” he said.

“The bill hasn’t passed yet, but they are hoping it could take effect in 24 months,” Eccleston said.

“We have been at war some 10 years and now everybody is starting to realize we have an entire generation of veterans coming home and they need jobs,” he said.

 “This is an incentive for other veteran business owners to do exactly what I’m doing. It gives them an opportunity to hire veterans. I think that’s great. Right now, of my five employees, including me, four are veterans. My dream is to one day be 100 percent veteran owned and operated.”

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