Navy honors U.S. Rep. Larsen with highest civilian honor

Dec 6, 2016 Issues: Supporting our Naval Bases

Stanwood Camano News: Navy honors U.S. Rep. Larsen with highest civilian honor
By SC News Staff

Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) has been awarded the Navy’s highest civilian honor for outstanding service to the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps, the Distinguished Public Service Award.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said the award was presented to recognize Larsen’s advocacy for the resources needed to maintain a strong Navy and Marine Corps.

He said the award honors Larsen’s efforts to keep open the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) office at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and in securing language in the House version of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to allow WIC offices to operate on military bases.

Additionally, Larsen has advocated for a strong Navy presence in Everett, Mabus said. Larsen worked to bring three new destroyers to replace decommissioned frigates at Naval Station Everett, and pushed the Navy to avoid a gap between the retiring frigates and arrival of the new destroyers.

In 2015, Larsen pressed the VA to change the Veterans Choice Program to better meet the needs of veterans in the Pacific Northwest so that Whidbey veterans can now receive local health care instead of facing an hours-long drive to a VA facility.

In September, Larsen succeeded in helping circumvent a 1992 ban on the VA providing in vitro fertilization services for veterans – which had previously required veterans with service-connected infertility to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket to start a family.

“We are fortunate to have such a dedicated leader in Congress,” Mabus said.