Arizona must support our military service members, so they continue to work tirelessly in protecting our country. There is no doubt about this, but we also have a moral responsibility to take care of over 500,000 Arizona Veterans and their families. Taking care of those who served this country and their families is an obligation we owe to them for defending this great nation. Suicide, mental health issues and unemployment plague our Veterans here in Arizona. Ryan will advocate changing this.
A report issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs shows that at least 60,000 Veterans took their own lives between 2008 and 2017. Arizona Veterans are suffering, and we must do more to help them. Since 2005, over 2,600 Veterans took their own lives in Arizona alone.
Veteran Mental Health
According to the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services (ADVS), 1 in 3 Arizona Veterans are at risk for chronic mental health conditions. 1 in 10 Arizona Veterans who struggle with trauma, anxiety, and depression are experiencing issues with substance abuse to cope with it.
In 2018, the Arizona Veterans unemployment rate was over 24% higher than the national average.
To address these issues, we must put forth bold action. Ryan developed a four-point policy plan to help support our Veterans in Arizona:
1. Tax exemption for Arizona Veterans, widows, and widowers up to $10,000 (real estate first, then mobile home or automobile) for service-connected total disability.
2. State government contracting requirement to use 5% of Arizona Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.
3. Appropriate $500 million in annual grant funding to Arizona non-profit organizations who will support expanding mental health services, homeless housing, and workforce development opportunities for Arizona Veterans.
4. Increase the number of Arizona Veteran benefit counselors by 100 over the next 5-years (ADVS appropriated 42 but only has 30 currently filled).
This policy plan will let our Veterans know we are serious about taking care of them. Join me. Let’s take care of Arizona’s heroes.