Larsen Underscores Commitment to Veterans and Members of the Military

Nov 11, 2014 Issues: Veterans

WASHINGTON—After meeting with veterans at a series of roundtables and events across the Second District over the last week, Rep. Rick Larsen expressed his ongoing commitment this Veterans Day to ensuring those who have served in the U.S. military are able to get the services and resources they need. 

“Over the past week, I have met with dozens of veterans at roundtables and other events across Northwest Washington. I am grateful to all the veterans who took time to meet with me during these recent roundtables. Their ideas will help me do a better job working on their behalf in Congress. And I thank all veterans in the Second District and across the country for their service. Veterans Day is an important opportunity to pause and recognize the sacrifices of the millions of women and men who have served our country in uniform. I am committed to ensuring these veterans can access the resources they need every day of the year.

“The feedback I heard from veterans at a recent series of roundtables I held touched on concerns and ideas about access to health care, education, housing and job resources. This information is critically important to helping shape the work I do in Congress for veterans.

“Some veterans shared with me the long timeline for getting an initial disability rating. Others had questions about getting care outside the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) system because of travel challenges. These and other concerns about health care will be on my agenda in the coming weeks and months, especially as the VA carries out reforms to cut down on wait times for medical appointments.

“With education, some veterans had questions about using their benefits. I understand that navigating these benefits can be a challenge, which is why I introduced a bill to allow colleges to access veterans’ VA educational benefits to make it easier for colleges to provide educational counseling to veterans who are paying for college with their GI Bill benefits. I will keep working to move this bill and other ideas forward that will ensure veterans can get into the classroom easily and efficiently.

“Connecting veterans with jobs is another priority, and I will continue to make sure veterans receive the hiring preferences they have earned. I was upset when the Department of Energy reported that the Bonneville Power Administration had been violating veterans’ preference in their hiring. The BPA Administrator was recently replaced, and I am working with my colleagues to scrutinize the BPA to ensure that veterans are treated fairly. BPA is in the process of reviewing previous job applications to ensure eligible candidates received credit for service and that all applicants were treated fairly. So far, this review has resulted in 69 veterans being hired.

“Too many veterans struggle with homelessness. That is why I am a strong supporter of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program, which provides funding to local housing authorities to help find housing for homeless veterans. This program wisely addresses multiple areas of need, matching housing with dedicated caseworkers. In 2012, the Housing Authorities in Skagit and Snohomish counties received grants to provide housing vouchers for 100 homeless vets.

“I have always tried to be an advocate for local veterans in Congress by working to address their needs for health careeducation, employment, and housing.  It will be an honor to represent them in the 114th Congress, and I will continue to work to ensure we honor the promises we make to our women and men in uniform.”

Larsen’s office is available to assist veterans who need help accessing resources. Call his Everett office at (425) 252-3188.