SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) –Senator Mike Rounds is making a third try for a congressional charter for an organization representing Native American Veterans. A congressional charter gives an organization the legitimacy of being officially sanctioned by the U.S. government.

Senator Mike Rounds spoke to Veterans in Sioux Falls last week, hinting that this legislation would be introduced soon. According to Rounds, there are more than 140,000 Native American Veterans in the United States. They serve our country at rates five times higher than the national average. The only body currently focused on representing Native American Veterans is the National American Indian Veterans organization.

“What we want is for this to be a congressionally chartered organization to speak on behalf of all of these who clearly have earned these benefits of being Veterans but sometimes find it hard to take advantage of those benefits,” Said rounds.

The N-A-I-V’s national commander is a Mitchell man.

“Let me start with Donny Loudner; anyone here know Donnie Loudner? Rounds asked the crowd gathered at the DAV last week.

Loudner, a Korean War Veteran, has worked for almost two decades to get the charter.
Now age 93, he served in the national guard alongside the Senator’s father.

“I’ve got to give him credit, Senator Rounds took this when I talked to him, and he found out what was going on. We’ve been trying to get this charter since 2004 when Senator Daschle was there,” said Loudner.

Rounds believes the charter bill has a better chance of being passed by Congress this year.

“We are also going to try to put it into the National Defense Authorization Act, which means it would go over with a very popular bill in both the House and Senate. I think we’ve got a pretty good shot at getting it done this year,” said Rounds.

The bill also has the support of Senator John Thune in the Senate. Representative Dusty Johnson introduced similar legislation in the House last year.