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As a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I have the utmost respect for the men and women who have served and are actively serving our country, both at home and abroad. Congress must ensure our veterans receive the care and benefits they deserve. Anything less would be a dishonor to their service and sacrifices. 

A few years ago, the Department of Veteran Affairs endured a major scandal and while reform is underway, we still have work to do to give our veterans flexibility in seeking the care they need and as such, I’ve voted on legislation to help veterans get access to timely and effective care.

In April 2018, I led a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie seeking clarification on coverage for servicemembers who served along the Korean DMZ and were exposed to dangerous chemicals, like agent orange. Here in  Congress, I have also sponsored legislation like these that would further help our veterans:

  • The Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2013 (H.R. 235), which was signed into Law, would help states to streamline their certification requirements for military medics who are looking to continue their career as an emergency medical technician (EMT) in the civilian workforce. Veterans with EMT training are often forced to start their training over, and in rural states such as Illinois, it is increasingly difficult to find citizens willing to go through the training required to become an EMT. This legislation eliminates both of these problems by restructuring state EMT licensing processes and giving these experienced veterans a chance to use the skills they already know without having to start at the beginning.
  • The Veteran-Centered Access to Coordinated Health Care Act of 2014 (H.R. 3858) would allow veterans to receive health care from local non-VA health centers and would enhance VA coordination of this care received outside of a VA. In rural communities, veterans aren't getting the care they need because they live too far from a VA facility. By ensuring that all veterans have the opportunity to get care that's closer and more convenient, the Veteran-Centered Access to Coordinated Health Care Act would eliminate this problem.

Here at home, I hold an annual ‘Congressional Veteran Commendation Ceremony’ where I honor those brave men and women from Illinois’s 16th Congressional District who have answered the call to serve our great nation, and continued to serve in our communities. If you know of a veteran who you believe is qualified, please click here for more information.

I’m honored to represent my fellow Americans who have answered the call of duty and put their own lives at risk for the sake of this great nation. I am committed to doing all that I can to help our veterans from benefits, health care, transition back to civilian life, and beyond. My staff and I are here to help with any questions regarding the Department of Defense or Department of Veterans Affairs, and if we can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our Ottawa office at (815) 431-9271.

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