The freedoms we enjoy as a nation are born from the many sacrifices of our veterans and their families. The brave men and women who have worn the uniform, and who today put their lives on the line in defense of our democracy, deserve our deepest respect and gratitude. Above all, the sacrifices of our veterans warrant our solemn commitment to providing high quality health care, education, and employment opportunities as they transition from military service to civilian life. Here at home, David is collaborating with former service members through his Veterans Advisory Group, learning first-hand of the challenges facing the more than 70,000 Rhode Island veterans and their families. Through this engagement, David is putting the advice of local veterans into action in Congress.
David is dedicated to safeguarding and enhancing the resources and services our veterans have earned through their selfless duty. He knows that, just as our service men and women swore an oath to support and defend our nation, we too have an obligation to deliver on the promises made to our veterans once they return home. And when David learned that the Veterans Crisis Line was sending some of our nation’s heroes to voicemail, at a time when they needed urgent support, he led a bipartisan effort to demand funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide 24 hour support, 7 days a week for veterans who find themselves in crisis.
And, for far too many veterans, the challenges of life after military service start with obstacles to employment opportunities. In his first year in Congress, David supported the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which was later signed into law. This measure provided tax credits to businesses that hired unemployed veterans, enhanced employment benefits, and expanded educational and workforce programs. When authorization for some of the programs created under the 2011 law expired, David joined in support of legislation, the Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act, which would reauthorize the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP), an initiative that helps train unemployed veterans for careers in high-demand fields.
But, David knows our promise to veterans goes beyond the commitment of ensuring access to economic opportunities. Congress has a moral obligation to guarantee our service men and women receive high quality health care without delay or bureaucratic red tape. That’s why David is championing bipartisan legislation, the Improving Veterans Access to Quality Care Act, to increase the number of health care providers treating our veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs has identified a need for over 26,000 new care providers to help meet the health care needs of our veterans, and this legislation would streamline the hiring of former military healthcare providers to help fill that gap.
Whether through his meetings in Iraq and Afghanistan with active duty Rhode Islanders, or while here at home in discussions with his Veterans Advisory Group, David has learned about issues at the forefront of veterans’ minds when they return from the front lines. And he’s bringing that knowledge to Congress as a call to action. From his support of the Veteran Education Empowerment Act, helping colleges and universities implementVeteran Student Centers to address the unique challenges facing student veterans when enrolling in college, to his advocacy of the Homes for Heroes Act, legislation aimed at preventing low-income veterans and their families from becoming homeless, David will continue to fight for those who gave so much of themselves for so many of us.