We have no more important obligation than caring for the men and women who have served us in uniform. I highly value my time speaking with veterans across our district at the VFWs and American Legions, the Homes for the Brave shelter in Bridgeport, or collaborating on the Veterans History Project.
Improving Veterans’ Care
I fully support legislative efforts to fund our veterans’ health care system. We must ensure that our veterans get the care and the benefits that they have earned. The wounds of war can run deep, and healing our veterans is the least that a grateful nation can do.
Importantly, we must greatly reduce the shameful backlog of disability claims at the VA. Our veterans deserve timely, high quality care. I will continue to do whatever is needed to eliminate the backlog and restore efficiency at the VA.
I have supported legislation to improve the care that our veterans receive from the VA. We have significantly improved and expanded health care for women veterans (1.8 million strong). New laws have allowed the Veterans Administration to hire more healthcare providers and to establish new points of service nationwide.
A New Focus on Mental Health
Understanding and expanding mental health care services for our veterans is a high priority. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken an extraordinary toll on the mental health of our combat veterans. We must address the alarming suicide and addiction rates among our soldiers and veterans, and direct new resources to understand and treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
By making it easier for our soldiers to access confidential mental health screenings with licensed professionals, we can reduce the suicide rate among our service members and make advances in the treatment of PTSD.
Putting Our Vets to Work
I believe that after all that they have sacrificed for our country, no veteran should be homeless or jobless. That’s why I supported the Veterans Economic Opportunity Act, which created a new office at the Veterans Administration to better administer the VA’s current vocational and educational programs, as well as other social services.
I helped pass the bipartisan Veterans Opportunity to Work Act, which gave tax breaks to businesses that hire veterans. We can do more to ensure the valuable skills veterans acquired in the military are utilized in their new civilian professional life.
Combating Homelessness, Improving Housing Assistance
Nationwide, 60,000 veterans are still living on the streets or in uncertain housing situations. My office works continuously with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the VA to secure VA Supportive Housing, or VASH, vouchers for rental assistance and supportive care services. I supported legislation to make more veterans eligible for federal housing aid, like Section 8 rental assistance and public housing programs. I believe that veterans should receive fair access to federal housing and homeless assistance programs.