Since joining Congress I have fought to make sure that our veterans are treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve. Our veterans have sacrificed a great deal for us, and providing them with the resources they need after their active duty has ended should be a priority for all of us.
I have voted to send our sons and daughters into harm’s way and it is the most serious issue we face as Members of Congress. We should take just as seriously efforts to fully fund the services our men and women in uniform need when they return.
I have co-sponsored more than 150 bills related to veterans’ issues ranging from health care benefits, housing assistance and equipment upgrades. I have worked to secure additional funding for body armor and upgraded Humvees, supported the expansion of the G.I bill to help provide educational assistance to our veterans, and supported improved health care record keeping.
I worked alongside other Members of Massachusetts’ Congressional Delegation to preserve some of the Commonwealth’s veterans’ health care facilities when the Veterans’ Administration was consolidating locations. I fought to protect the VA Medical Center in Jamaica Plain, the Causeway Street Community Based Outpatient Clinic in downtown Boston and outpatient clinics in Dorchester.
I recently had the honor of commemorating the service of one of our local fallen heroes. My bill, H.R. 5877, named the Post Office at 655 Centre Street in Jamaica Plain after Lance Corporal Alexander Scott Arredondo. An official naming ceremony took place in August of 2011.
More and more veterans are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and I am working to be sure that the health services we are providing gives veterans access to the mental health services that they might need. If we are going to put our troops in harm’s way, then it becomes our responsibility to care for them when they return home.
It is important to recognize that veterans’ families are also making sacrifices and ought to have our support as well. That is why I co-sponsored legislation extending the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The law extends education benefits to more veterans and allows them to transfer those benefits to their families. It also includes education benefits for the children of every soldier who has fallen in the line of duty since September 11, 2001. In December 2010 Congress extended the Post-9/11 GI Bill with passage of the “Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010”.
I will continue to make support for our veterans and their families a priority.