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There are many veterans who live in our district and their issues are important to me and to my work in Congress.
The debt we as Americans owe to our nation’s veterans is immeasurable. The 24th Congressional District is home to over 50,000 veterans, a large percentage of whom served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I firmly believe the way in which we care for them during and upon the completion of their service says everything about the type of nation we hope to be.
Since coming to Congress, I have been proud to cast many votes in support of our veterans. In 2010, I was proud to support the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act. The bill provides financial support to family and others who care for disabled, ill, or injured veterans, enhances health services for the 1.8 million women veterans, including care for newborns for the first time in history, and expands mental health services for veterans and health care access for veterans in rural areas. I also proudly voted to enact the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provided the largest increase in veterans’ funding in the 77-year history of the Veterans Administration. The new GI Bill, which took effect in 2009, allows eligible veterans who served at least 90 days active duty since September 11, 2001, to receive an in-state, undergraduate education at a public institution at no cost.
As more and more veterans return home, we are increasingly aware of the mental hardships of war. I am working to help veterans cope with conditions like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and reduce the number of suicides associated with these hardships. I also support workforce training and job placement programs for returning veterans, and will continue to support veteran assistance projects on the Central and South Coasts.
I will continue to be focused on improving the lives of our veterans in the 113th Congress. At home, I’ll make sure my constituents are able to secure over-due pensions and medals. I’ll also fight to reinstate adequate funding for the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher program and pass the bipartisan Agent Orange Equity Act to ensure all those who served in Vietnam receive the health care resources they deserve. Finally, I’ll work with my colleagues in the House to modernize the Department of Veterans Affairs to effectively face 21st century challenges, including increasing the amount of claims processors to respond to individual inquiries in a timely manner and strengthen mental health resources for all those who have served.