Carolyn on Veterans & Military Families

From a young age, my parents instilled the value of service as a key factor in my life, something I’ve never forgotten. My grandfather served in World War II, and one of our close family friends growing up was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for 8 years. I am grateful to them and to all veterans who decided to give back and serve their country.

The 7th district is home to tens of thousands of veterans and service members, and we need to do everything we can to thank them for serving us and keeping us safe. We, as a country and as a community, must do better to serve and repay them for the sacrifices they have made.

When service members return home from tours of duty and make the transition into civilian life, we must provide them with accessible, quality health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Trump Administration has failed to fully fund the VA and give it the tools needed to be successful. The Administration’s lackluster approach to the VA is taking its toll. Too many veterans fail to get the care they need - that is unacceptable. One veteran who cannot get the care he or she needs is one too many.

We also must do more to support our veterans through the transition back into civilian life. This sometimes requires sufficient access to mental health programs. The suicide rate among veterans has been increasing, constituting an alarming trend. Our veterans and service members face many difficulties in the transition back into civilian life, and we must ensure every service member has the care he or she needs to transition effectively.

A key part of this service-to-civilian transition is access to employment and educational opportunities. Our veterans are some of the hardest-working, disciplined and motivated potential employees in the world, yet veteran unemployment levels remain too high. Veterans and service members deserve tools and financial help to return to school and begin/continue their education, and we must give them the education benefits they deserve and have been promised.

 

Jake Best