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Del. C.T. Wilson has been chosen to succeed retiring Del. Joseph J. “Sonny” Minnick as House chairman of the Maryland Veterans Caucus.

Minnick (D-Baltimore), who announced in August that he would not seek re-election after 23 years spent in the House of Delegates, introduced Wilson (D-Charles) as the next caucus chairman during a Feb. 5 ceremony honoring the state’s fallen veterans.

“C.T. is going to take over command of the veterans caucus,” Minnick said.

Wilson presided over the ceremony, calling it an “honor” to “bring attention to the unparalleled sacrifice made by these brave men and women and their families.”

“Please let the work being done here reflect our appreciation for the work that was done over there,” Wilson said. “Let our actions be more than just flag waving and lip service during an election time. Let [veterans] be more than just an easily removable line item in a budget. Lastly, let us never forget those service members who have returned to this great state and have left a piece of themselves on a foreign battlefield.”

In a phone interview, Wilson said he was “very humbled” to be chosen, as a first-term delegate, to replace Minnick, who has chaired the caucus — which promotes legislation benefiting veterans — since 2007.

“It’s never been my goal to be a chair or a vice chair of anything, it’s just to do the best job I can do when I’m up there,” Wilson said.

Wilson served in the U.S. Army from 1990 to 1997, seeing combat in both the Gulf War and Bosnian War.

He got involved with the caucus as House vice chairman last year after being asked to help due to his “constant fighting on the floor for anything I can do to support our veterans,” he said.

Sen. Douglas J. J. Peters (D-Prince George’s) is Senate chairman of the caucus.

As House chairman, Wilson said he will push for legislation designating a certain amount of the state’s retired veterans’ income nontaxable. He supported a similar measure last year, but it failed in committee when lawmakers deemed it an unfunded mandate.

Wilson said many veterans working at Fort Meade have Virginia or Pennsylvania license plates because those states offer income tax breaks.

“This is not a handout. This is a way to entice our veterans to come back and live in Maryland, to show appreciation,” Wilson said. “Instead of just saying we support our veterans and waving the flag, let’s show our appreciation.”

Wilson also supports providing free college education to veterans with 180 days or more of service time, and also providing property tax breaks to all veterans who are 50 percent or more disabled.

Currently in Maryland, only 100 percent disabled veterans get a break on their property taxes, Wilson said.

jnewman@somdnews.com