The people of our district are proud of the men and women in our midst who have served our country in our military. Veterans make up eight percent of our population, which is twice the national average. Our veterans bring unique skills and challenges from their military service. Because of their service many bear pain or disability, and a majority suffer the lingering influence of traumatic stress. The high suicide rate among veterans is a tragic failure of our system to support and reintegrate them into our communities. We also fail to fully recognize the particular skills, both technical and in terms of teamwork and leadership, that veterans bring to the civilian workforce. I am the proud daughter of a Vietnam veteran who depends upon the programs and support of the VA healthcare system. The hiring freeze of the current administration has left many positions in the VA vacant and stretched its staff too thin. The President and Congress threaten to further destabilize and privatize the VA health system. They must be stopped!
We need to continue to invest in our veterans and ensure they are able to successfully reintegrate into our communities, share their gifts with us, and thrive. Veterans deserve top quality, fully funded medical and mental health care, from providers who understand their particular experience. We need to expand educational and workforce readiness programs, and invest in advocates who can help veterans connect with the services that are available.
I will fight the President’s efforts to privatize the VA healthcare system. I will also advocate for increased funding and support for medical and mental health care, and career and technical education, to help our veterans thrive.
My priorities for veterans’ issues include:
Oppose and reverse the efforts to privatize the VA healthcare system
Increase funding for the VA system
Improve access for rural areas by increasing the number of care providers, including virtual meeting and mobile care unit options
Hire staff to fill vacant positions in the VA system, and improve staff retention
Improve advocacy for new members to help them access all their care options
Reduce suicide through peer and group programs, and emergency counseling
Improve access to career and technical education, and career counseling