A roundup of campaign news items of interest for Monday, Nov. 11, 2019:
BUTTIGIEG’S PLAN FOR U.S. MILITARY: Streamlining veterans’ health care is a key element of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s policies for the U.S. military.
The South Bend, Indiana, mayor proposed creating a White House position to coordinate between the Veterans Affairs administration and the Department of Defense, and create a system where military members have just one medical record that would follow them through their entire VA care.
Buttigieg also proposed guaranteeing access to mental health care and promoting suicide prevention, expanding programs designed to make it easier for military families to transition back into civilian life, and end the current administration’s ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.
“When you put your right hand up and make a promise to give everything to your country, the promise America makes is to remember you, respect your service, and care for you and your family,” Buttigieg said in a statement. “That promise lasts long after you hang up your uniform. Right now we are not seeing that promise fulfilled, from long VA wait times, barriers to the full inclusion of women service members, to the often unsafe on-base housing for military families. Veterans Day is an opportunity to do more than just thank our veterans for their service — we must ensure that veterans have access to the benefits they earned in service to our country.”
BIDEN’S PLANS FOR VETERANS: Joe Biden’s plans for U.S. military members are focused on four elements: providing “world-class” health care, improving management in the veterans health care system, driving down homelessness and suicide, and creating job and educational opportunities, the former vice president’s Democratic presidential campaign said.
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Biden’s campaign said he would “establish the right balance of VA care and purchased care, region by region, based on veteran needs, existing VA capacity, and availability of market alternatives,” assess staffing needs in the VA system, and increase funding for and expand access to telehealth in the VA system, among many other steps.
Biden also published a set of policies for military families, highlighted by proposals to pay service members a competitive wage, provide resources for military spouses, caregivers and survivors, and prioritize support for military children.
BIDEN ANNOUNCES VETERANS STEERING COMMITTEE: More than 30 Iowa veterans make up the Biden campaign’s veterans steering committee.
“Joe Biden is the most qualified candidate running for president — and he’s the only one who has the experience we need to rebuild relationships with our allies around the world,” Sarah Orwig, a Sioux City veteran, said in a statement released by the former vice president’s campaign. “Joe knows that the effects of war don’t end when we return home, and we need a president who will fight for veterans. Being a veteran used to be an asset when searching for a job, now there is a stigma that prevents disabled and retired veterans from gaining employment. Joe will work tirelessly just as he always has to make sure every veteran returns home to the protections and resources they deserve. Joe Biden understands the sacrifice our veterans make and he will never leave us behind.”
WARREN ANNOUNCES VETERAN ENDORSEMENTS: Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced 76 endorsements from Iowa veterans.
“I served as a combat medic during Vietnam, working as an operating room tech in Japan. In the decades since, I’ve taken on the role of veterans’ advocate — particularly on the issues of PTSD and traumatic brain injury,” James Marren, an Army veteran from Polk County, said in a statement released by the Warren campaign. “It can be hard for people to understand the mental and physical needs of severely wounded vets, but Elizabeth does. Her plans are why I’m strongly endorsing Elizabeth for president.”