During her entire time in elected office, Fiona Ma has been a huge supporter of veterans, veteran rights and continuing the SF JROTC program including fundraising efforts and attending numerous annual Spring Competitions and Drum Corp Competitions. She has been an annual participant and speaker at the SF Memorial Day Celebrations in the Presidio over the past decade, marched in the annual SF Veterans Parade and has been a strong advocate for the South Vietnamese Military Veterans, and has recognized various veterans from her Assembly district as her “Veteran of the Year” in Sacramento (2006-2012). She has worked with the Gold Star Moms and Blue Star Moms on various projects.
Strongly Supported SF Proposition V (November 2008): Passed by 54.63%. Proposition V was a policy statement to give voters the opportunity to make the statement that San Francisco schools should continue to maintain a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program. The JROTC programs in seven San Francisco high schools would have been dissolved at the end of the 2008-09 school year. Proposition V on November’s ballot would encourage the Board of Education to reverse its 2006 decision to terminate these programs.
The Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps began in 1916. While its initial focus was to identify enlisted recruits and officers, it changed over the years to a focus on citizenship and more recently to a focus on life skills and civic responsibility. While JROTC instructors are all active duty Army retirees, the program is less focused on the military today than in the past.
Nationwide, as of November 2008, there were 1,645 schools with JROTC programs that serve 281,000 students. The San Francisco JROTC program is both during and after-school and currently serves over 1,400 high school students (which represents a decline of 200 since the passage of the policy to phase out JROTC). The majority of the students are girls.
The school board and voters had previously voted against the presence of military in schools on several occasions. Prior to the passage of No Child Left Behind, San Francisco schools barred military recruiting from public schools. Then in November 2005, 59 percent of the voters approved Prop. I, which made it City policy to oppose military recruiting in public schools.
In 2006, the school board voted to phase out the seven JROTC programs in city high schools by June 2008. The primary justification was that the JROTC program is operated by the U.S. Military, which bars gays and lesbians, and that the board has no say over who is hired as an instructor.
A separate vote in December 2007 allowed the program to continue until June 2009 while the district identified and piloted a replacement program. However, in June 2008, the school board took away the physical education credits students receive for enrolling in JROTC -- making it very difficult for students to keep the program in their academic schedule since it would no longer count towards overall credits required for college admittance.
Authored AB 223 (Ma) (Feb 2009) would have required the San Francisco Unified School District to reinstate JROTC and grant JROTC participants P.E. credit for graduation.
Strongly Supported a Resolution by San Francisco School Board Trustee Jill Wynns (March 2009) to keep JROTC in our public high schools.
AB 199 (Ma)(Chaptered 2012)- WWII Filipino Veterans in Curriculum: Encouraged social science instruction in grades 7-12 to include the significant role of Filipinos in World War II to ensure that our children and future generations learn of the contributions and sacrifice of these brave Filipino soldiers before we lose them to history.
Assembly Joint Resolution 6 - Filipino veterans (Chaptered June 6, 2012) - This resolution requested that the Congress and the President of the United States enact the Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2011 (H.R. 210).
Assembly Concurrent Resolution 159 (Ma/Gorrell)(Chaptered September 18, 2012): Encouraged California's institutions of higher learning, the University of California, California State University and the California Community Colleges to move cohesively and in an expeditious manner to evaluate and adopt the American Council on Education's (ACE) credit recommendations to give veterans their due credit for appropriate military experience.
Other Veterans Activities
Assembly Resolution (May 2010): Recognized Lt. Col. Robert Powell, Jr. who retired after 28 years. He started at Lincoln High School in Fall 1982 as a Senior Army Instructor and by Fall 1995 he was promoted to Director of Army Instruction. He had been doing both jobs since 1995.
October 4-5, 2011: Flew out to the USS Abraham Lincoln while at sea, departed Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI) in San Diego, CA via a Navy C-2 Greyhound, experienced an arrested landing; and flew back to NASNI experiencing a catapult launch off of the ship.