Louis John Celli Jr.

 

Following his 22 year career in the United States Army, Master Sergeant Celli founded the nonprofit organization the Northeast Veterans Business Resource Center, Inc. (NEVBRC), that helped veteran entrepreneurs start and grow small businesses enterprises. Mr. Celli retired from NEVBRC in 2012 to accept a position as the Legislative Director for the American Legion – the largest veteran service organization in the United States, and in 2014 was appointed by the American Legion’s National Commander to serve as Director of the Legion’s National Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation (VA&R) division. 

Chartered in 1919 by congress, The American Legion is a partner, and watchdog organization of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  As director of the VA&R division in Washington, D.C., Louis is responsible for directing programs that impact more than 20 million veterans nationwide, ensuring that veterans and their family members receive the access to VA healthcare and benefits they have earned through their honorable service. 

Mr. Celli leads a fulltime staff of 50 highly trained specialists in 6 different states and the District of Columbia who’s responsibilities include creating and managing programs that work within all 1,700 VA hospital and clinics, 56 VA regional offices, over 100 VA cemeteries including Arlington National Cemetery; he and his team oversees a program that manages nearly one million volunteers who work daily at VA facilities nationwide, and is responsible for accrediting more than 3,000 claims representatives who hold active powers of attorney on three quarters of a million veterans seeking disability claims assistance from VA, he oversees The American Legion’s appellate team located at the Board of Veteran Appeals. 

Celli’s team also represents veterans before the Department of Defense discharge upgrade review boards as well as the Military and Physical Evaluation Boards, oversees veterans pensions, VA life insurance programs, and debt management programs for veterans who are struggling with debt due to VA overpayment.  Mr. Celli testifies regularly before congress, has assisted with legislative language on several important bills that have been signed into law, manages an annual budget of over 4 million dollars, and is an active member of the Board of Directors of the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono program.

Louis is a graduate of Harvard University, a native of Boston Massachusetts, and together with his wife Elise have 6 children ranging in age from 15 to 27 years old.

 


 

Online Bio at U.S. House of Representatives http://docs.house.gov/meetings/VR/VR03/20150423/103271/HHRG-114-VR03-Bio-CelliL-20150423.pdf

American Legion contact https://www.legion.org/documents/legion/pdf/varc-point-of-contact.pdf

Veterans Pro Bono Consortium https://www.vetsprobono.org/about/item.7606-Who_We_Are

 

Partial listing of media quotes, interviews, published articles, and appearances

 

2017

HillVets Top 100 2016 http://www.hillvets.org/hillvets-100-of-2016/2016-traditional-non-profits/

NPR (Audio) Trump Nominates VA Undersecretary For Health To Head Department http://www.npr.org/2017/01/11/509361816/trump-nominates-va-undersecretary-for-health-to-head-department   

American Legion heads to White House (video) 3:45https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51TL4eqhDV4

The Daily Wire 5 Things to Know about VA Secretary David Shulkin http://www.dailywire.com/news/12348/5-things-you-need-know-about-trumps-va-secretary-aaron-bandler 

Association of American Medical Colleges: Congress Works to Close FY 2017 Spending Bills as White House Proposes New Cuts https://www.aamc.org/advocacy/washhigh/

Association of American Medical Colleges: House VA Committee Examines Provider Recruitment: https://www.aamc.org/advocacy/washhigh/highlights2017/478140/032417housevacommitteeexaminesproviderrecruitment.html

Military Times Human resources problems causing hiring, retention headaches for VA http://www.militarytimes.com/articles/va-human-resources-problems-recruiting

The Fresh Toast Will Trump’s VA Chief Support Medical Marijuana For Veterans?: https://thefreshtoast.com/cannabis/will-trumps-va-chief-support-medical-marijuana-for-vets/#sthash.rlYOKVD9.dpuf

Topix Legion testifies on the dangers of VA staff shortages: http://www.topix.com/city/st-cloud-mn/2017/03/legion-testifies-on-the-dangers-of-va-staff-shortages?fromrss=1

Healthline News Will Healthcare for Veterans Improve Under President Trump?: http://www.healthline.com/health-news/will-healthcare-for-veterans-improve-under-trump

U.S. House of Representatives Testimony on Healthy Hiring:  Enabling VA to Recruit And Retain Quality Providers: http://docs.house.gov/meetings/VR/VR03/20170322/105610/HHRG-115-VR03-Wstate-CelliJrL-20170322.pdf

Washington Post David Shulkin tapped as Trump’s VA secretary: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/01/11/david-shulkin-tapped-as-trumps-va-secretary/?utm_term=.b973f1eac70a

 

2016

Assorted Congressional testimony 2016:

https://www.legion.org/legislative/testimony/233068/pending-veterans-affairs-legislation

https://www.legion.org/legislative/testimony/232825/pending-veterans-affairs-legislation

https://www.legion.org/legislative/testimony/231623/pending-veterans-affairs-legislation

https://www.legion.org/legislative/testimony/231296/fiscal-budget-2017-budget-veterans-programs-and-fiscal-year-2018

https://www.legion.org/legislative/testimony/230117/pending-veterans-affairs-legislation

https://www.legion.org/legislative/testimony/226893/testimony-pending-legislation

https://www.legion.org/veteranshealthcare/231898/legion-congress-va-must-develop-patient-centered-care-strategies

 

C-SPAN Testimony before the Democratic National Platform Planning Committee 2:46:03 https://www.c-span.org/video/?411154-2/democratic-platform-drafting-committee-holds-platform-hearing-phoenix

C-SPAN Testimony before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee 1:37:35 https://www.c-span.org/video/?405067-1/secretary-robert-mcdonald-testimony-fiscal-year-2017-budget

Testimony U.S. Senate on pending legislation (video) https://www.veterans.senate.gov/hearings/pending-legislation03152016(written testimony) https://www.veterans.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/TAL%20Celli%20Testimony%203.15.16.pdf

Testimony U.S. Senate on Fiscal Year 2017 Budget for Veterans' Programs and Fiscal Year 2018 Advance Appropriations Request https://www.veterans.senate.gov/hearings/fiscal-year-2017-budget-for-veterans-programs-and-fiscal-year-2018-advance-appropriations-request

Mother Jones on Commission on Care strawman http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/04/veterans-groups-really-dont-idea-privatized-va-system

Popular Resistance Powerful Veterans Group Pushes Trump on Marijuana Rescheduling https://popularresistance.org/powerful-veterans-group-pushes-trump-on-marijuana-rescheduling/

CBS News Report: VA Spent Millions on Costly Art http://abcnews.go.com/US/report-va-spent-millions-costly-art-veterans-waited/story?id=40970667

Medical Marijuana Inc: American Legion Urges Trump’s Transition Team to Reschedule Cannabis http://www.medicalmarijuanainc.com/american-legion-urges-trumps-transition-team-reschedule-cannabis/

Weed News Veterans Group Urges Donald Trump To Reschedule Marijuana: http://www.weednews.co/veterans-group-urges-donald-trump-to-reschedule-marijuana/

VAntage Point Monitoring the success of MyVA: Advisory committee members meet in Pittsburgh: http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/31698/success-of-myva-advisory-committee-members-meet-in-pittsburgh/

Real Koch Facts Kochs’ Concerned Veterans for America Push For Privatization Over Objections Of Veteran Service Organizations http://realkochfacts.com/kochs-concerned-veterans-for-america-push-for-privatization-over-objections-of-veteran-service-organizations/

Advisory Board Ascension Health targets veterans with first-of-its-kind ad campaign: https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2016/03/29/ascension-health-launches-first-of-its-kind-ad-campaign

Leafly American Legion Urges Trump Team to Reschedule Cannabis: https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/american-legion-urges-trump-team-reschedule-cannabis

Hail Mary Jane American Legion Calls for Rescheduling Cannabis: http://www.hailmaryjane.com/american-legion-calls-rescheduling-cannabis/

John Batchelor Show Friday  14 January 2016 / Hour 1, Block C: http://johnbatchelorshow.com/schedules/friday-14-october-2016

Mint Press News American Legion Asks Congress To Reschedule Cannabis As Vets Continue To Suffer Under War On Drugs: http://www.mintpressnews.com/american-legion-asks-congress-reschedule-cannabis-vets-continue-suffer-war-drugs/220469/

Marijuana Powerful Veterans Group Pushes Trump On Marijuana Rescheduling: http://www.marijuana.com/blog/news/2016/12/powerful-veterans-group-pushes-trump-on-marijuana-rescheduling/

Fleet Reserve Association Sgt Shaft Blog: http://www.fra.org/fra/Web/Content/Sgt_Shaft/VSO_s_and_Veterans_Choice_Healthcare.aspx

Military Times Groups Oppose Plan to Steer More Vets to Private Health Care Providers: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/05/25/groups-oppose-plan-steer-vets-private-health-care-providers.html

Baltimore Sun Amid stubborn backlog, VA plans to outsource more disability exams: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-va-exams-contract-20161003-story.html

MSNBC John McCain slams key veterans’ advocacy groups: http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/john-mccain-slams-key-veterans-advocacy-groups

Washington Post American Legion: Pentagon officials ‘turned their backs’ on veterans to get around hiring them: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/06/20/american-legion-pentagon-turned-their-backs-on-veterans-in-morally-bankrupt-tactic-to-get-around-hiring-laws/?utm_term=.6125296a752a

Federal Practitioner Senate, VA Agree—Veterans Choice Act Needs Fixing: http://www.mdedge.com/fedprac/article/107378/senate-va-agree-veterans-choice-act-needs-fixing

Stars and Stripes Senate votes to scale back federal job preferences for veterans: https://www.stripes.com/news/veterans/senate-votes-to-scale-back-federal-job-preferences-for-veterans-1.415100#.WOGXAIWcFhG

The Hill Time running out for lawmakers to get behind America's vets: https://origin-nyi.thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/lobbying-world/298375-time-running-out-for-lawmakers-to-get-behind-americas-vets?mobile_switch=standard

Washington Post Veterans Resist Job-Preference Limits: https://www.pressreader.com/usa/the-washington-post/20160621/281822873091998

U.S. House of Representatives Testimony Protecting Veterans' Educational Choice Act of 2016: https://www.congress.gov/114/crpt/hrpt813/CRPT-114hrpt813.pdf

The American Legion Centennial Committee Legion opposes permanent extension of Choice program: http://centennial.legion.org/pressrelease/232886

Capitol Press Conference To Force Call To Action on Appeals Modernization: https://www.thestreet.com/story/13727705/1/legion-press-conference-to-force-call-to-action.html?cm_ven=RSSFeed

Policy and Medicine Veterans Affairs Committee Hearing on VA-Established CME http://www.policymed.com/2016/05/veterans-affairs-committee-hearing-on-va-established-cme.html

Washington Times McCain a voice for veterans, but not always in harmony: https://www.pressreader.com/usa/the-washington-post/20160809/281913067500561

Stars and Stripes McCain and veterans groups aren't always on the same page: https://www.stripes.com/news/us/mccain-and-veterans-groups-aren-t-always-on-the-same-page-1.422994#.WOGiYYWcFhF

Military The SITREP Veterans Groups Speak Up in Favor of Post-9/11 GI Bill Cuts: https://military.id.me/community-news/vets-speak-favor-gi-bill-cuts/

Chicago Tribune Leading private-sector health system woos veterans in ads: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-veterans-private-health-care-20160325-story.html

Missouri Business Alert Ascension Health targets veterans in new ad campaign: http://www.missouribusinessalert.com/industries/71225/2016/03/28/ascension-health-targets-veterans-in-new-ad-campaign/

Arizona Central VA scandal: 'Drastic' proposal stirs fears of privatizing veterans' care: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona/2016/04/01/commission-on-care-proposal-on-va-future-creates-rift/82487530/

Minnesota Legion St. Cloud hears the good, bad, ugly: http://www.mnlegion.org/January16Legionnaire_Layout-1.pdf

 

2015

C-SPAN Testimony before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee 1:10:05 https://www.c-span.org/video/?328595-1/hearing-veterans-health-care-legislation 

(clip)https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4554239/senate-veteran-affairs-hearing-101615

Testimony U.S. House of Representatives on EXAMINING THE QUALITY AND COST OF VA HEALTH CARE https://veterans.house.gov/witness-testimony/louis-celli-jr 

Testimony U.S. Senate on pending legislation https://www.veterans.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/TAL%20Celli%20Testimony%2010.06.15.pdf

Military Times, New Survey on PTSD http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/08/06/american-legion-conducting-new-survey-on-veterans-ptsd-tbi-care.html

Miller vs. McDonald: A clash of agendas and legacies for veterans

https://www.stripes.com/columns/miller-vs-mcdonald-a-clash-of-agendas-and-legacies-for-veterans-1.432750#.WOFps4WcFhF

U.S. News and World Report VA Secretary Attempts to Change Culture, Combat Critics: https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/02/09/va-secretary-attempts-to-change-culture-combat-critics

Bloomberg News (video) A $15 Billion Cure Can’t Fix Veterans’ Care at U.S. Agency: https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-04-30/a-15-billion-cure-can-t-fix-veteran-health-care-at-u-s-agency

American Military Retiree Association Legion visits VA to assess concerns: http://www.cqrcengage.com/amra/app/document/10831397;jsessionid=gu6zy9+l7HNoAjJceorTEiJV.undefined

The Progress Index Isakson vows to ease 4- mile limit on VA ‘Choice Card’: http://www.progress-index.com/article/20150310/News/150319988

Boston Globe Bernie Sanders’ surge is partly fueled by veterans: https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2015/06/27/bernie-sanders-surge-partly-fueled-veterans/e1qNTpzFpIaoxIGKygKa9J/story.html

 

2014

C-SPAN Washington Journal: Efforts in Congress to address the health care crisis within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) https://www.c-span.org/video/?320690-4/washington-journal-veterans-health-care 

C-SPAN Press Conference in U.S. Capitol 12:01 https://www.c-span.org/video/?319641-1/gop-briefing-veterans-health-care (picture) http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/BDKGo4JsvWO/House+Republicans+Hold+News+Conference/ZTxSyRs7GLQ/Louis+Celli 

C-SPAN Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Weekly update 10:05 https://www.c-span.org/video/?318673-1/speaker-boehners-weekly-briefing 

Newsmax Legion's Celli: 'Trailblazer' Needed to Fix VA Problems (story) http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Eric-Shinseki-Louis-Celli-trailblazer-VA/2014/06/02/id/574712/

NewsMax (Video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74_VU2wImrk

Washington Free Beacon (Video) http://freebeacon.com/issues/american-legion-we-have-totally-lost-confidence-in-shinseki/

Talk Back with Chuck Wilder (Audio transcript) http://talkbackwithchuckwilder.blogspot.com/2014/05/516-louis-celliangelo-codevillarobert.html

VOA: Ruling on Flag Burning Still Brings Strong Emotions

http://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/ruling-on-flag-burning-still-brings-strong-emotions-25-years-later/1940589.html

VOA Landmark US Flag Burning Case Marks 25th Anniversary: http://www.voanews.com/a/landmark-us-flag-burning-case-marks-25th-anniversary-/1941569.html

VOA American Veterans: Culture Change Needed to Fix Broken Health Care System: http://www.voanews.com/a/american-veterans-culture-change-needed-to-fix-broken-health-care-system/1919771.html       

NY Times Latest News on V.A. Health Care Scandal: https://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/29/latest-news-on-v-a-health-care-scandal/?_r=1

Slate Less Hiring More Firing: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/11/veterans_affairs_overhaul_the_va_should_worry_less_about_cleaning_house.html

BBC News Congress announces deal on veterans affairs health fix: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28535786

CBA News (video) Congress is mulling VA changes, but what do veterans think?: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/congress-is-mulling-va-changes-but-what-do-veterans-think/

Military 1 Report: 60,000 veterans were 'triple dippers': https://www.military1.com/defense/article/539454-report-60000-veterans-are-triple-dippers/

Christian Broadcasting Network (video) Proposal to Shrink Military Raises Red Flags: http://www.cbn.com/tv/3254101547001?mobile=false& (video) http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2014/February/Hagel-Cuts-Would-Shrink-Army-to-Pre-WWII-Size/?Print=true

ILSTV Canada 6 biggest barriers facing small businesses: http://www.ilstv.com/6-biggest-barriers-facing-small-businesses-canada/

Mentor Works Wouldn’t You Like to Know What Your Business is Worth, Right Now?: https://www.mentorworks.ca/blog/business-consulting/you-must-always-be-ready-to-sell-your-business/

New Orleans Times New report: New Orleans VA Regional Office made mistakes in 42 of 90 disability claims: http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/07/new_orleans_va_regional_office.html

News Max American Legion: White House Twisted Our Words on VA Resignation: http://www.newsmax.com/US/american-legion-veterans-affairs-resignations-scandal/2014/05/20/id/572477/

Fleet Reserve Association Democrats Ready New Plan to Restore Military Pension Reduction:http://action.fra.org/latest-news/democrats-ready-new-plan-to-restore-military-pension-reduction/

Fox News (video) American Legion Official Rips Carney on VA Scandal: WH 'Spin' Was 'Disingenuous': http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/05/20/american-legion-official-rips-carney-va-scandal-wh-spin-was-disingenuous

Military Times guest contributor, Bill to Authorize Firing VA Senior Execs: https://militaryadvantage.military.com/2014/03/bill-to-authorize-firing-va-senior-execs/

American Health Line Are Talks About Privatizing the VA Health System Premature?: https://www.americanhealthline.com/blog?filtertopicID=%7B2D4C1FBF-243E-4C7F-88DF-F47C9E4C3ECC%7D

Al Jazeera America VA health care and Eric Shinseki - Inside Story - Al-Jazeera America - May 15, 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CA40SIOr0E

Politico Reforming the VA one step at a time: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/department-of-veterans-affairs-reforms-108492

 

2013

Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives on pending legislation https://veterans.house.gov/witness-testimony/mr-louis-celli

C-SPAN Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives 1:59:25 https://www.c-span.org/video/?312052-1/sec-shinseki-explains-2014-budget-request-house-va-committee

U.S. Senate press conference (Video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnWeH8s9M8U

U.S. House of Representatives hearing: CONTRACTING AWAY ACCOUNTABILITY - REVERSE AUCTIONS IN FEDERAL AGENCY ACQUISITIONS https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-113hhrg85873/html/CHRG-113hhrg85873.htm

Fox News (video) Veterans fight changes to disability payments http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/03/30/veterans-fight-changes-to-disability-payments.html

PolitiFacts RNC says Wasserman Schultz voted to cut off veterans benefits: http://qa.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/oct/16/republican-national-committee-republican/rnc-says-wasserman-schultz-voted-cut-veterans-bene/

World Net Daily IRS retreats from attack on veterans: http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/irs-retreats-fromf-attack-on-veterans/

U.S. House of Representatives testimony on Reverse Auctions and Small Business: https://veterans.house.gov/witness-testimony/mr-louis-j-celli-jr-2

End Times Headlines Now IRS Targets Veterans’ Group: https://endtimeheadlines.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/now-irs-targets-veterans-group/

U.S. House of Representatives press conference HVAC and SVAC Leaders, VSOs Call for Extending Advance Funding of VA Programs (video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Va21RsIOvE0&feature=youtu.be

(Listing) https://veterans.house.gov/press-release/hvac-and-svac-leaders-vsos-call-for-extending-advance-funding-of-va-programs

 

2012

USA Today Number of veterans in Congress continues to decline: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/11/20/fewer-congress-vets/1716697/

Tulsi Gabbard Congress's New Veteran Troop: https://www.votetulsi.com/news/2013-01/congresss-new-veteran-troop

Tammy Duckworth NBC: Battle-hardened double amputee to prospective congressional foes: ‘Bring it: http://tammyduckworth.com/news/nbc-battle-hardened-double-amputee-prospective-congressional-foes-bring/

American Legion Magazine End of fiscal year can be boon for small businesses: http://www.offleashk9training.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/american_legion_magazine_article.pdf

 

2011

American Legion Magazine Your veteran niche in a recovering economy: https://www.legion.org/veteransbusiness/160041/your-veteran-niche-recovering-economy

 

2010

Open Gov Welcoming Remarks at American Legion National Small Business Seminar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P6FulGIMC0

Lawrence Eagle Tribune Grant helps resource center turn veterans into business owners: http://www.eagletribune.com/news/local_news/grant-helps-resource-center-turn-veterans-into-business-owners/article_7b24fb91-871d-545a-84e8-8cb86f8a422c.html

 

2009

American Legion Magazine Rediscover The Small-Business Formula: http://blog.coloradolegion.org/observer-news-updates/rediscover-the-small-business-formula

 

2007

Testimony U.S. Senate as Chairman of U.S. Small Business Administration on Veterans Affairs congressional record (testimony) Is The Veterans Corporation Prepared To Provide Entrepreneurial Development Assistance To Service Men And Women Returning From Iraq And Afghanistan?: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-110hhrg34830/html/CHRG-110hhrg34830.htm

Testimony U.S. Senate as Chairman of U.S. Small Business Administration on Veterans Affairs congressional record Federal Procurement https://books.google.com/books?id=nt1ARbBaSGgC&pg=SL4-PA510&lpg=SL4-PA510&dq=louis+celli&source=bl&ots=lZrLlz7p4v&sig=_7ekLe8fMsoySsIFJt7MAgPWn-M&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjllrnpvffSAhUXHGMKHXm_C2M4KBDoAQgZMAA#v=onepage&q=louis%20celli&f=false

Mann Publishing Group Building Small Business Credit, Technical Editor: https://books.google.com/books?id=IUm19wHxf3oC&pg=PR2&lpg=PR2&dq=Louis+J.+Celli&source=bl&ots=IEngiBJUKn&sig=G0fLMvT_8vqp7DopFo4M44JdQVE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwic1K_FyvfSAhVT2WMKHeOrB5g4ChDoAQg9MAg#v=onepage&q=Louis%20J.%20Celli&f=false

U.S. House of Representatives Testimony on Veterans Entrepreneurship and Self Employment: http://archives.veterans.house.gov/Media/File/110/5-17-07/110-23transcriptEO5-17-07.htm

Boston Globe Help for the self-employed soldiers: http://archive.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/09/24/help_for_the_self_employed_soldiers/

Forbes The Next War: Ex-Soldiers Try To Set Up Shop: https://www.forbes.com/2007/06/22/iraq-sba-veterans-ent-law-cx_mf_0622vetpreneur.html

 

2006

U.S. House of Representatives Testimony on Veterans Entrepreneurship: https://veterans.house.gov/witness-testimony/mr-louis-j-celli-jr-0