The Second Congressional District is home to nearly 55,000 veterans, including many veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of my most important responsibilities as a member of Congress is to ensure that the men and women who served our country 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.
- Pushed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (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 cosponsoring and 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 cost-of-living increase for veterans benefits.
- Cosponsored 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.
- Strongly 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 to back to school by allowing them to take reasonable breaks between terms.
- Requested full funding for the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program to prevent homelessness among veterans and assist veterans struggling with homelessness. Veterans in Snohomish and Skagit counties have benefitted from the program.
- Cosponsored the Retired Pay Restoration Act to allow disabled veterans to immediately get concurrent receipt of retirement benefits and disability pay.
- Strongly support fair compensation for military surviving spouses so they can receive the full amount of survival assistance to which they are entitled.