vday 2Bravery. Dedicated. Passionate. Hardworking. Loyal. These are all words that many would use to describe someone who is a hard worker, caring family member, and devoted friend. Veterans embody these characteristics, but are far too often overlooked for employment opportunities when they return to civilian life. I am committed to increasing the ways we support these courageous folks as they navigate re-entering civilian life, struggling with mental health concerns like depression or PTSD, tackling challenges to their physical health from their time in service, and more—and have become more invigorated to champion this cause after meeting with veterans this month.

November is Veteran’s month, and over the course of the past few weeks, I have had the honor of connecting with many veterans at events throughout my community, including a Day of Remembrance celebrating the lives of veterans who are living and those who have passed away. I was moved not only by the testimonies of surviving loved ones and veterans themselves, but also the keynote address from author Bill Taylor Jr., who served in the Marine Corps in the Vietnam War. His harrowing, honest story—and dedication to publicly share his memoir to inspire other veterans to find peace and healing with his experiences—were deeply impactful on myself and all those who attended, and strengthened my drive to fight for improving veterans’ access to mental health support and health care upon their return from duty.

I am also proud to highlight a group of veterans from Puerto Rico, also known as the Borinqueneers, who served in the 65th Infantry unit of the Army in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and beyond. Many of these soldiers had significant impacts on the U.S. war effort, despite facing discrimination and racism as people of color in a largely segregated military, and laying their lives down for a country that did not grant them political representation.  I was honored to speak with some Borinqueneers living in Chicago and learn about their accomplishments, as well as hardships their community has faced in the past and continue to face today. vday 1

To address this, I will be meeting with local veterans organizations for roundtable discussions on veterans’ issues—including access to employment, mental health care, political representation, and more. Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our country – it is the least we can do to ensure their interests are represented in government.

If you are interested in participating in our roundtable discussion or have ideas for policy plans impacting veterans’ affairs, please reach out to our office!

Category: News

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Springfield Office:

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