Supporting Our Servicemembers & Veterans
"We ought to give those who serve our country everything they need when they are in the field—and everything they deserve when their service has ended."
We owe our servicemembers and their families a great debt of gratitude. And we need to support them in meaningful and lasting ways. I take very seriously my responsibility to our troops and I am working hard to ensure that they have everything they need for success in their mission and beyond.
Rhode Island has one of the highest per capita National Guard deployment rates in the country, as well as a substantial active-duty presence at Naval Station Newport. I am working every day to support our troops and their families, who share in the sacrifice of military service. In recognition of their contribution to our national security, I’m fighting to provide economic security for veterans when they return home. I believe we have a special responsibility to make the American Dream work for those who have fought for us to preserve it.
I meet with Rhode Islanders serving in our armed forces whenever I can, whether at my annual veterans breakfast, at send-off ceremonies in Rhode Island, at military hospitals, or at U.S. bases overseas…. I carry their stories and those of their loved ones with me as I work to uphold our nation’s promise to our servicemembers and veterans.
Here are some of ways I’m standing up for servicemembers and their families:
Troops returning from active duty often need time to regain their financial footing. That’s why I introduced legislation to lengthen the grace period of foreclosure protection for servicemembers after their tour of duty. A version of my legislation, extending the grace period from nine months to one year, was approved by the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
The best way to learn about the needs and goals of our servicemembers is to listen to their stories. That’s why I have hosted open discussions with our troops, so I can hear their concerns, answer questions, and discuss policies that support their service. I will continue to meet with Rhode Island servicemembers and their families whenever I can. It’s always an honor to hear from them and thank them for their commitment and sacrifice.
The strain of a deployment can be particularly challenging for the children of our servicemembers. I am working with the Rhode Island National Guard and Rhode Island’s educators to ensure that children whose parents are serving in the military have the support and resources they need to thrive in school.
Here are some of the things I have been proud to accomplish for our servicemembers.
- Introduced the Combating Military Counterfeits Act, a bipartisan measure to protect troops and the United States military supply chain from defective body armor and other dangerous counterfeit products. A version of this bill became law as part of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
- Cosponsored legislation, which became law in 2011, providing tax credits for businesses that hire veterans and improving job training for our servicemembers.
- Introduced a resolution paying tribute to the members of United States Armed Forces who served in Iraq and their families. The resolution was unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate.
- Cosponsored legislation to stabilize funding for critical Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care services, which was signed into law in 2009.
- Cosponsored the Wounded Warriors Act, passed by Congress in 2008, providing new resources to diagnose, treat, and prevent post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, two conditions that afflict many of those who have fought in Iraq or Afghanistan.
- Cosponsored the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, the largest investment in veterans’ education since World War II. The bill was signed into law in 2008.
- Cosponsored legislation to strengthen veterans’ suicide prevention initiatives, which was signed into law in 2008.
Our troops have answered the call of duty every time. I’m working to give them the support they need.
I’d like to hear from you. Are there policies that you believe would improve the lives of Rhode Island’s servicemembers and veterans?
Share your thoughts and ideas.
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