A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

First veteran business owner addresses legislative committee about ‘Boots to Business’ program

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joe Slaughter, the first veteran entrepreneur to start a business under the Secretary of State’s Boots to Business program that started last month, addressed a legislative committee on Thursday about the program as the nation recognizes the week of the 17th anniversary of 9/11.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes met with Slaughter last week as he and other veterans were working on a Habitat for Humanity home build for a former interpreter for U.S. troops in Iraq. Slaughter filed articles of organization for K & S Community Development last month.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joe Slaughter (left) speaks with Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. (Photo courtesy of the Office of the Secretary of State)

“Boots to Business is a great program and reduces barriers to small businesses,” Slaughter told the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection. He told the committee he will utilize his background in community development and urban planning to help develop communities in Kentucky.

More than 100 veteran-owned businesses have started under the Boots to Business program since the office began accepting applicants Aug. 1, Grimes said Thursday. Through Boots to Business, new business entities that are 51 percent owned by a military veteran or active service member, including members of the National Guard, are eligible for fee waivers for the initial business filing and the annual report filing in the next four years of business.

“I am thankful for Chief Slaughter’s service to our country, and his service continues today as helps to grow Kentucky’s economy,” Grimes said. “I am excited that more than 100 businesses have already taken part in Boots to Business, a program that is a small gesture of thanks to our heroes for their selfless service and sacrifice to our country and encourages them to continue giving to their communities.”

In 2017 alone, the Secretary of State’s office identified 8,300 Kentucky businesses that were at least 50 percent veteran-owned.

Reps. Tim Moore, Jody Richards, and DJ Johnson sponsored the legislation, House Bill 319, that created Boots to Business in the House of Representatives. Richards also carried the bill in previous sessions.

“It has been a long journey [for Boots to Business] and, truly, we have to give the effort to the Secretary for all the hard work she’s done to make this come about,” said Gen. Benjamin F. Adams, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, said in April at the bill’s receiving ceremony. “It’s service that is the call. There are so few who are able [to serve], and for those who can, we owe everything we have to give them an opportunity to do more with what they want to do in life.”

Potential new veteran or active-duty military business owners can learn more about the program by contacting the Secretary of State’s office or visiting sos.ky.gov.

From Secretary of State

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