Military Personnel, Veterans and their families

As an American and as a candidate for Congress, I think every day about the tremendous commitment of courage and sacrifice that so many of our brave young men and women make, and have made, to our great country since 9/11.  I honor their commitment.  To that end, I’m committed to increasing pay and benefits for our military personnel who are currently serving and their families.

I also know that the current leadership in Congress has been unable to ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs can appropriately meet the needs of our veterans when they return home – as the situation in Arizona has recently demonstrated.  While Congress has easily funded the machinery of war in last decade, it has not adequately funded the effects of war—caring for the needs of our returning heroes.

During coverage of the recent 70th Anniversary of D-Day, I was reminded that there was a time in this country when Congress did ensure that our veteran’s needs were met with adequate funding and administration of a well-run, efficient and high quality VA.  It is something that we must prioritize again.

As your representative in Congress from California’s 42nd District, which as part of Riverside County is home to the 8th largest veteran population in the United States, I promise to honor and serve veterans with the deepest sense of gratitude and respect for the bravery and courage they have shown in defending our nation. The veterans of the 42nd District and throughout the nation have my commitment to oppose any attempts to cut their benefits. As I have done throughout my career as a Federal employee professional, I pledge that I will fight to ensure that each and every veteran has access to reliable, accessible, timely and affordable healthcare of the highest quality. I will also support programs that ensure that they have easy access to educational, vocational and job training opportunities and other necessities for enabling a smooth transition back into civilian life.

Specifically I support:

) The Senate version of the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014 which will, among other things, allow veterans waiting for care to go to private physicians of their choice and bill the VA if they live more than 40 miles from a VA hospital or clinic.  The bill also authorizes the construction of more than 20 VA medical facilities; improves medical care for military sexual assault victims; increases education benefits for veterans and their surviving spouses; and appropriates $500 million to hire more doctors and nurses to care for the influx of veterans coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq;

) H.R. 2942 which reestablishes the Department of Veterans Affairs Professional Certification and Licensure Advisory Committee.  This bill will allow veterans to more easily apply their military skills toward earning civilian licenses for particular jobs;

) H.R. 4363 – Work For Warriors Act of 2014.  This is a bill introduced by Congressman Takano (CA 41) that establishes a pilot program to enhance the efforts of the Department of Defense to provide job placement assistance and related employment services directly to reserve members of the armed forces;

) H.R. 844 – VetSuccess Enhancement Act.  This bill extends the period for veterans with service-connected disabilities to enroll in certain Department of Veterans Affairs vocational training and rehabilitation programs from 12 to 17 years after discharge;

) A policy of non-retaliation against whistleblowers in the Department of Veterans Affairs.  This will encourage the integrity of our local VA healthcare system by protecting employees who report problems within the agency;

) Funding for updated computerized medical records system to help reduce the backlog in VA disability claims processing;

) Funding for affordable housing for homeless veterans.

I have seen first-hand how inadequate funding of Federal agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs can have a devastating effect on individuals for whom the agency is designed to help. When I’m in Congress, I will work with Democrats, Republicans and Independents to ensure that our veterans get the best health care and other services by voting to fully fund the Department so that it can carry out its mission – just like it did after World War II.

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