Rep. Larsen earns the Navy’s Distinguised Public Service Award

Dec 5, 2016 Issues: Supporting our Naval Bases

Whidbey News-Times: Rep. Larsen earns the Navy’s Distinguised Public Service Award
By Jessie Stensland

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen was awarded the Distinguished Public Service Award, the Navy’s highest civilian honor for courageous or heroic acts, or outstanding service of benefit to the Navy or Marine Corps, according to a press release from his office.

Larsen has been a consistent supporter of the nation’s sailors and Marines.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Larsen, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. “This award belongs to the women and men of the Navy, the Marine Corps and their families – whose unsung, everyday sacrifices make our military the finest the world has ever known. I will continue to advocate for our servicemembers and veterans, and work to ensure they have the resources they need to succeed.”

Ray Mabus said the award recognizes Larsen’s support and advocacy for the nation’s sailors and Marines.

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

Larsen successfully fought to keep open the Women, Infants, and Children office on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island – which hundreds of military families rely on for food assistance. He also secured language in the House version of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act to allow Women, Infants, and Children offices to operate on military bases, according to the press release.

Additionally, Larsen has advocated for a strong Navy presence in Everett. Larsen worked to bring three new destroyers to replace decommissioned frigates at Naval Station Everett and pushed the Navy to avoid a gap between retiring the frigates and 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. Whidbey veterans can now receive local health care instead of facing an hours-long drive across Deception Pass to Mount Vernon or having to take the a ferry to Seattle to reach a VA doctor.

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