Taking Care of our Veterans

When veterans return home, we have an obligation to ensure they have the resources needed to return to civilian life. Congress has done a lot over the past few years to bring down the number of homeless veterans, pass the GI bills, provide job training and increase access to healthcare services.  However, as I travel around our district talking to veterans and their families, it is clear that Congress has a lot more work to do. There’s estimated to be roughly 1,200 homeless veterans in Pennsylvania – and that’s 1,200 too many. 

The VA has the ultimate responsibility to provide our brave men and women with the healthcare they’ve earned. I too often hear that veterans have to travel long distances to get their care or wait to get the care they need, but I also hear stories of life-saving care from dedicated, courteous, professional, and hardworking staff at the VA. Congress needs to listen to our veterans and look to the innovative ways medical centers in our community are reinventing the healthcare models in order to increase access and quality at the VA.

Sadly, I continue to hear about the devastating effects the opioid crisis is having on veterans. Congress needs to work with the Department of Defense and the VA to ensure our men and women that have served in uniform get the resources they need as they transition out of the armed services.  These departments need to work together along with our communities to identify veterans that are struggling with addiction and to provide them the treatments they need.

Finally, I am dedicated to improving the employment opportunities for veterans.  More needs to be done to translate the skills these individuals learned while serving our county into the credentials, certifications or credits they need to find good employment or advance their careers.  The training and expertise they mastered while in the military shouldn’t be wasted because they decided to leave service.  We need to be helping employers understand how these skills translate into civilian employment and will help them grow their business.