Governor taps veterans advocate for a new term
By John McPhaul
Prior to the start of the new ordinary session of the Legislative Assembly, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia nominated Agustín Montañez-Allman as veterans advocate for a new term of 10 more years on Monday.
“Montañez-Allman is a fervent defender of our veterans; together we have waged battles in favor of these heroes who fought with dignity for the democracy that we all enjoy today,” the governor said in a written statement. “The Veterans Office, under Agustín’s leadership, has come a long way over the past 10 years, and because there is still much to be done, I am pleased to appoint him to a new term as Veterans Advocate. I hope that his record and his contributions to all veterans are taken into consideration by the Legislative Assembly when evaluating this appointment.”
In a letter addressed to the governor, Montañez-Allman expressed his availability to remain in office “as well as to participate in any transformation that adds services to our ex-military personnel.”
During his tenure, Montañez-Allman was awarded over $15 million in compensation for veterans’ pension and disability claims and processed $5 million in veterans’ claims. Also, he worked to ensure that 140 veterans and their resident spouses did not lose their homes. Likewise, he managed to get the Veteran’s House to pass all federal inspections and secured an allocation of $7 million, in 2011, to build the first State Veterans Cemetery, which opened in 2014.
“As a decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf War, we will never shy away from our duty to Puerto Rico and to the men and women who, with courage and valor, have defended our institutions, freedoms and democracy,” Montañez-Allman said.
Among the plans of the veterans advocate are the construction of a second state cemetery, this time in the southeast of the island, and to continue the improvements to the Veteran’s House, as well as the veterans’ cemetery in Aguadilla.
Prior to serving as the veterans advocate, Montañez-Allman was deputy secretary of the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, assistant prosecutor of the Department of Justice in Utuado and deputy administrator of government agencies. He also directed the Legal Division of the Office of Youth Affairs after serving as assistant to the Legal Division of the Department of Labor and Human Resources.
Montañez-Allman holds a Juris Doctor from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ohio University.