Matthew D. Ubben
Director of Legislative And Cabinet Affairs
Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs
July 16, 2001 – August 31, 2004
"It was an honor and a privilege to join Jennifer's leadership team at the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs (FDVA), following her appointment by Governor Jeb Bush to serve as the agency's Executive Director.
From personal experience I've witnessed her work ethics and commitment to personally helping veterans. When the state did not want to commit funds to erect a monument to honor Florida's WWII veterans, Jennifer single handedly went around the state asking for donations for the project, she also personally made phone calls and sent out donation letters. She encouraged veteran's organizations to purchase WWII commemorative pins and ask for their members to donate. To reduce the cost to construct the monument, she requested and obtained permission from the WWII Memorial architecture and stone quarry to use the same design and stone on a scaled down model of the National WWII monument. Jennifer's mission was for Florida to properly recognize and the greatest generation and to have a place where Floridians and WWII veterans who were unable to the travel to Washington D.C. to have a replica WWII memorial in their state. Jennifer was also very active and engaged with the federal VA always seeking ways to get the VA to better service disabled Florida Veterans. This relationship and advocacy proved very beneficial to Florida veterans receiving millions in retroactive benefits compensation.
As a very outspoken and strong advocate for veterans, she lobbied the Florida Legislature for construction funds for two additional State Veterans' Nursing Homes in Bay and Charlotte Counties which allowed the state to draw down federal matching grant moneys that resulted in $15 million of federal funds for these projects. Additionally, Jennifer's tenacity in challenging the VA's ruling and getting the decision overturned was instrumental in Jacksonville, Florida being the recipient of the newest veteran's cemetery.
During her tenure at FDVA, Jennifer served as the chair of the Florida Council on Homelessness, where she sought ways to provide enhanced services toward solving homelessness in the state and particularly within the veteran community.
Following her service at FDVA, President George W. Bush appointed Jennifer to the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission where she served admirably and represented the voice of millions of female veterans and veteran's families. The commission made recommendations to the congress where some have already been implements to improve the lives of many veterans and their families. Jennifer's work on behalf of veterans is greatly appreciated and will never be forgotten.