The Second Congressional District is home to nearly 60,000 veterans, including many veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am committed to ensuring that the women and men who have served our country in uniform get the resources and services they need. I strongly support programs to help smooth the transition to civilian life through education, job training, housing and health care.
Veterans looking for assistance with their benefits may be able to get help from my office. My staff in Everett and Bellingham work one-on-one with veterans to assist them with their benefits claims. My office also established a veterans skills-to-jobs initiative that works with veterans, local colleges and employers to translate veterans’ military experience to skills demanded by the private sector.
Click here for more useful phone numbers for veterans seeking information about local resources and the VA Choice program.
- Led a four year fight to overturn a ban on in vitro fertilization services for veterans suffering from fertility issues as a result of service-connected injuries. In September a provision to circumvent the ban was approved as part of the annual Congressional spending bill.
- Spearheaded a bill that aims to expand paid sick leave benefits recently made available by the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015 to veterans hired by the Federal Aviation Administration. The bill became law in September of 2016.
- Led efforts to renew a transportation program that veterans rely on to get to and from their health care appointments.
- Worked with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to improve access to care for veterans in Northwest Washington who face geographical barriers because of the region’s unique environment, including veterans living in South and Central Whidbey Island who must drive across Deception Pass to Mount Vernon or take a ferry to Seattle before they reach a VA doctor.
- Introduced the Women Veterans and Families Health Services Act of 2015, which would give veterans with service-connected infertility access to in vitro fertilization and adoption assistance.
- Pushed the VA to update the Schedule for Rating Disabilities to reflect current medical standards, after a constituent highlighted a disparity.
- Began to address the urgent need to improve the quality of VA centers by voting for the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014.
- Worked with Senator Patty Murray, the VA, and local veterans to establish a Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Mount Vernon, which now provides primary and specialty care, including mental health services, to veterans in Skagit County.
- Secured a federal rule to ensure that critical access hospitals, including Whidbey General Hospital, will receive increased TRICARE payments, so service members, military families and retirees continue to have access to needed medical care.
- Championed veterans’ interests by opposing an increase to TRICARE fees, and supporting a cost-of-living increase for veterans benefits.
- Cosponsor of the Manufacturing Jobs for Veterans Act and the Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act, to help veterans get job training and find employment.
- Fought hard to lower the unemployment rate among veterans by cosponsoring the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which provides all veterans and departing servicemembers with robust job-skills training, and the Veteran Employment Transition Act, which provides business owners a tax credit to hire veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
- Cosponsored the Disabled Veterans Tax Termination Act to allow all disabled veterans to receive both retirement benefits and disability pay simultaneously.
- Strongly support fair compensation for military surviving spouses so they can receive the full amount of survival assistance to which they are entitled.
- Pushed for funding to assist veterans experiencing homelessness through the Housing and Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. Organizations that serve veterans in all five of the counties of the Second District received federal funding in 2015 to help more veterans get permanent housing.
- Supported efforts to strengthen the GI Bill by cosponsoring the Post 9/11 GI Bill, to expand GI Bill benefits for more recent veterans, and the Payment Restoration Act to make it easier for veterans to accommodate going back to school by allowing them to take reasonable breaks between terms.