As the daughter, wife, and stepmother of veterans, I have always had a deep respect for the sacrifices made by the men and women of our nation’s armed forces. I strongly believe this country has a sacred responsibility to ensure that our veterans are able to successfully transition to civilian life and receive quality medical care whenever they need it.
Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked to increase the availability and quality of veterans benefits. I have consistently supported bills that invest in housing for troops and their families, support reservists in the National Guard, offer assistance to military homeowners, and fund warrior transition complexes to provide services to wounded soldiers and their families. I have also joined my colleagues in passing legislation to address glaring deficiencies at aging military hospitals and VA hospitals and improve claims and benefit processing.
In addition, I am proud to have secured federal funding for the University of Southern California’s Military Social Work Program, a high-tech virtual reality program that helps educators train a new generation of military social workers. We have a critical need for trained professionals who understand the unique needs of our veterans, as soldiers experience longer deployments and service-related injuries that can be life-changing for them and their families. USC’s Military Social Work Program is helping to meet that need.
Today’s veterans face many challenges and obstacles, and these have been shown to vary across communities and populations. In some communities it may be homelessness, in others employment or mental health. Whatever is most pressing in an individual community, identifying and solving these issues will be impossible without reliable data. This data will ultimately allow us to enact policies that better serve veterans, and better target resources to programs with the greatest impact.
Caring for our veterans is a shared responsibility. Government, community organizations, and the private sector all have important roles to play. As your congresswoman, I will continue the important work of advocating for the needs of America’s veterans.