Honoring our Veterans and Military Families

At the age of 17, my grandfather enlisted to serve in the Navy during World War II. As a young Jewish man watching the rise of fascism and antisemitism abroad, he answered when his nation called. He served in Okinawa and the Philippines, and received a Purple Heart for his bravery and sacrifice.

We must never forget Americans, and their service, when they put themselves in harm’s way to protect our democracy. Our veterans deserve the comprehensive benefits they have been promised, expanded support programs to better address their needs, and quality and comprehensive health care. That is why I introduced successful legislation to support military families, service members, and retired veterans, earning formal appreciation from the Department of Defense for helping Vermont keep its commitment to those who serve.

In the State Senate, I will fight to eliminate the Veterans Affairs (VA) benefit backlog and wait times at VA medical facilities so that veterans can immediately access the support services they need. This means more funding to hire doctors and nurses and staff to care for veterans, updating and retrofitting VA facilities, and fighting back against threats to privatize and profit off of VA medical facilities. We must additionally expand healthcare coverage to guarantee mental health care, suicide prevention services, dental care, long-term care, and improved support services for survivors of sexual assault in the military. 

I will also continue to be an outspoken advocate encouraging action on the issues of toxic exposure. Many of our veterans are developing rare forms of cancer and respiratory illness as a result of their exposure to airborne toxins from burn pits and other chemical exposures during their foreign deployments and on US soil. Currently, over 75 percent of veterans filing disability claims due to exposure are being denied their claim.

Finally, we must support those caring for our veterans. That means investing in comprehensive care and the VA workforce, as well as expanding the VA’s comprehensive caregiver program. Our veterans deserve the compassionate care that allows them to remain at home and in the communities they fought to protect.

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