A Fighter for Veterans

By Elliot Anderson, Nevada State Assemblyman

Hillary has a record of working above the political fray when helping our veterans, and recently detailed her plan to support our veterans, troops and their families.

Her plan would focus on fixing the systemic problems plaguing the VA that have resulted in outrageous wait times for veterans seeking care, prevent Republicans from privatizing the VA, and ensure the VA has the resources it needs to provide service-connected for critical issues like mental health, traumatic brain injury, and post- traumatic stress, building on her work in the Senate.

Throughout her career she has demonstrated that she will fight for veterans and work across the aisle with anyone who has a commitment to helping those who have served. As a senator on the Armed Services Committee, she worked to address traumatic brain injury, predatory lending directed towards service members, and more. She also teamed up with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to expand TRICARE so that members of the Reserves and National Guard and their families could get better access to health care.

Hillary’s dedication to veterans is not new: her father was a World War II chief petty officer at Great Lakes Naval Station outside of Chicago. At an early age, she learned from her father about the importance of supporting those in uniform, military families, and veterans.

When Hillary Clinton visited Reno in July, she hosted a roundtable with veterans. Afterwards, my colleague (and veteran), State Senator Pat Spearman — who participated in the discussion — told veterans it is clear that Hillary has “got your six.” While here, Hillary defended the GI Bill (which is responsible for providing many veterans the opportunity to enter the middle class), talked about ensuring that those who suffer from PTSD receive resources they need, and addressed veterans entering the workforce.

Hillary acknowledged the problems with the VA on this trip. While she came out against privatizing and outsourcing VA services, she said she believed choice should be part of the solution. Advocating for choice to be a part of the solution inherently acknowledges the problems at the VA. And she made clear, explicitly, that what happened in Phoenix and elsewhere is “absolutely unacceptable, period.”

The VA needs improvement, but there are critical services the VA provides to the veteran community, like specialization in mental health services and combat-specific injuries. Additionally, the VA provides critical workforce-development training to veterans. Hillary asked the veterans and military family members at the roundtable what it will take to reform the VA; she asked for input from those who actually receive the services.

As Hillary said in Reno, “I believe in making sure that people who sacrifice for us are given all the care and the benefits and support that they need. And I believe strongly that taking care of our veterans is part of our solemn duty as Americans.” It is a duty that I know she takes seriously. That’s why she has my support, and the support of many of my fellow veterans across Nevada.

The priority of any presidential candidate should be reforming and transforming the VA so that it serves all our veterans and gives them access to state of the art care. Privatization and outsourcing are not magic bullets, and we should not accept ideologically-driven attacks as serious attempts to demonstrate care for our veterans. She will work to ensure that veterans receive the care they need, and will not back down from fighting against the ideological agenda of those who wish for nothing more than to privatize all government services, including the VA.