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Maine National Guard Head Urges Steps to Boost Eligibility

AUGUSTA, Maine - Brig. Gen. Douglas Farnham, the state's adjutant general, told lawmakers in the annual State of the National Guard speech that the guard faces challenges but expects to continue to meet both the needs of the state and the nation.

Farnham says one concern is the growing number of young Mainers who don't meet minimum standards for service.

"We need to appeal to young adults who are eligible to serve and we need to decrease the number who are ineligible," Farnham said. "We need to do more on child obesity and fitness and give kids the incentive not to make bad choices on drugs, crime or leaving school."

Farnham also urged lawmakers to adopt legislation that will provide tuition assistance to guard members at the University of Maine and Community College Systems. He says those institutions have come up with the funding to help subsidize tuition costs so the measure will not require additional state funding.