Veterans

America’s veterans deserve our respect and appreciation for the sacrifice they have made to protect our freedom and to keep our country strong and safe.  Over the years, our military personnel have served our nation with great distinction, oftentimes serving in unimaginable conditions and making tremendous sacrifices.

America must never forget its obligation to provide for our veterans and their families and must also ensure that the highest quality services and benefits that are needed are readily available.

As the final drawdown in Afghanistan nears, it is more important than ever to ensure that healthcare services, training programs, educational opportunities, and workforce benefits are available to those brave enough to serve.

As Your Congressman:

* I will work to repeal cuts to veterans pension benefits passed by Congress and signed by President Obama. There is simply no excuse for trying to balance our budget on the backs of those who have given the most. I hope Congress does the right thing and fixes this cut immediately.

* I will fight any attempt to increase healthcare fees and co-pays under the TRICARE military health insurance program. The Obama administration proposed cuts to defense spending last year, in part, by increasing the cost of healthcare for retired service members. I support the many veterans groups that fought against these cuts and will work to uphold the commitment we made to our veterans and their families.

* I will work closely with the National Military Veterans Alliance and the 35 Military Associations they represent to repeal The Independent Payment Review Board established under Obamacare. This unelected and unaccountable Board has been given extraordinary powers to impose arbitrary across-the-board cuts to physicians and other providers and has already cut Medicare Reimbursement levels. Medicare reimbursement rates and coverage determinations are standard measures for some provisions of TRICARE. Decisions dictated by the Board could essentially lead to a form of healthcare rationing for all Americans, including veterans.

* I will continue working to ensure that veterans have resources available to help find housing, training, and employment.

Experience

It is unacceptable that 1 of every 5 homeless people in Massachusetts today is a veteran. When I served in the State Senate I sponsored and passed a law that established “veteran’s preference” for state-owned housing in Massachusetts.

I’m proud that Massachusetts is home to nearly 400,000 veterans, and as a State Senator I was honored to serve for many years on the legislative committee that oversaw veterans’ affairs in our state. I worked to ensure that our state budget maintained a strong level of commitment to those who served in our armed forces. I fought Governor Patrick when he tried to make devastating cuts to the Chelsea and Holyoke Soldiers’ Homes, which service the healthcare and housing needs of thousands of veterans. I also ensured that state funds were allocated for 15 Veterans Outreach Centers around the state to help veterans access a variety of services.

I also sponsored and passed other legislation that provided benefits to veterans and their families, protected junior ROTC Instructors, and required that the Registry of Motor Vehicles make accommodations for servicemen and women deploying overseas.

As your Congressman I will continue my lifelong advocacy for veterans, focus on fixing the unconscionable Veteran’s Affairs backlog, and provide quality constituent services for veterans in need of assistance.