From the days of the American Revolution to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our nation has relied on the courage and sacrifice of our Armed Forces. America’s heroes merit our respect and support not only during their military service but also upon their return to civilian life.
The United States has too often neglected its veterans. The statistics are shameful:
- The suicide rate among veterans is 22 percent higher than the rate among civilians.
- An estimated 40,000 veterans find themselves homeless on any given night.
- More than 400,000 veterans are waiting for disability benefits; many suffer or die before their claims are ever processed.
As Colorado’s next senator, I will do everything in my power to secure the resources our veterans and their families deserve. That means eliminating the backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs, reducing wait times for care, and guaranteeing our veterans the high level of service they have earned. It means holding the VA and its leaders accountable for their performance, investigating misconduct, and preventing any such failures in the future. It means expanding access to top-flight medical and mental health care. And it means equipping our veterans with education, job training, vocational rehabilitation and employment assistance, among other services.
I’m proud to have supported our veterans throughout my career in the Colorado House. As a state legislator, I co-sponsored measures to:
- Increase support for the State Veterans Fund.
- Boost contributions to the Military Personnel Assistance Fund.
- Encourage Congress to pass the “Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act.”
- Provide unemployment insurance benefits for military spouses who are forced to relocate and leave their jobs.
- Provide in-state tuition status for military serving overseas.
- Assist schools that enroll the children of military personnel.
- Make it easier for members of the Armed Forces to cast ballots while stationed overseas.
- Honor veterans who demonstrated military valor.
- Recognize the widows and widowers of veterans—now an annual observance in Colorado.