There are more than 116,000 veterans in Hawai`i, and even though we span generations and different conflicts, we are all one family. The bond between veterans, and the camaraderie that exists among those who have worn the uniform and served, is something very special, different from anything I've ever known. Two veterans, who have never met, can look each other in the eye and know exactly what sacrifice the other has gone through, without even saying a word.
I honor the brave men and women who served and continue to serve in our military, and who risk their lives to protect the freedoms we all enjoy as Americans. As a captain in the Hawai`i National Guard who served two combat tours in the Middle East, I know firsthand the sacrifices our warriors make to protect and defend our great nation. It is my great honor and privilege to stand with and serve with such heroes.
As a nation, we owe a great debt to our veterans. It is an obligation and responsibility that I take very seriously.Tulsi Gabbard
As a nation, we owe a great debt to our veterans. It is an obligation and responsibility that I take very seriously. In between tours of duty, I worked as an aide to Senator Akaka in Washington D.C. One of my chief areas of responsibility was Veterans' Affairs issues. I experienced firsthand how the decisions our leaders make in Washington have a direct impact on the lives of our veterans, their families and loved ones. I want all veterans to know that in me, they have a fellow veteran who will champion and advocate for them, and will never stop fighting for them and their families.
After leaving the battlefield, veterans continue to face unique challenges even after they come home. Unemployment, disabilities, health care, homelessness, and depression are among a few of the daunting obstacles confronting them.
Therefore, I support President Obama's efforts to incentivize businesses to hire veterans, and his support of military families. I also support efforts to improve the GI Bill to allow veterans to develop skills that will help them in the workplace. And I will steadfastly oppose any efforts to cut funding for any programs designed to support service members, veterans, and their families.
Mr. Speaker, if your son or daughter, your brother or sister was sick and needed care but couldn’t see a doctor for 3 months or 6 months, or maybe over a year, wouldn’t you take an immediate action? Do whatever it took to make sure that they were cared for? As we stand here today, over a hundred thousand veterans: our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters in Hawaii and across the country have been waiting months just to see a doctor. In Honolulu veterans wait an average of a 145 days, sometimes longer, just to see a primary care physician for the very first time. This is infuriating to me, and it’s unconscionable that our veterans are treated this way when they come home.Tulsi Gabbard, on the House Floor
At the peak of the VA crisis, when it was clear that our veterans needed immediate access to physicians and that it was simply not acceptable to wait for all the systemic problems with the VA to be fixed before we addressed health care access, Tulsi introduced bipartisan legislation allowing veterans immediate access to private physicians, and advocated nationally, calling for this immediate change to allow for this access. Congress passed bipartisan VA health reform legislation into law in record time, which included a provision, based on Tulsi's proposal, to allow veterans access to private health care.
Veterans Embody the Value of Selfless Service
Recognizing the value that veterans bring to our community is so very important. Veterans have had a unique experience; they have actually been ready to sacrifice their lives for our country. Veterans embody the value of selfless service and sacrifice. And no matter what their job was in the military, veterans bring with them the ability to work as a member of the team to accomplish the task at hand, the discipline to stay with a task until it's successfully completed, and the determination to persevere no matter how difficult the assignment. As elected officials, employers, and as a state and country, it is crucial that we uphold our end of the bargain and ensure that our veterans have all the tools and benefits they need to be successful now that they have returned to civilian life.
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