VETERANS & MILITARY FAMILIES
The service and sacrifice of our veterans and their families must not be overlooked. As President Lincoln said in his second Inaugural address, “…to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” Bill believes this is our obligation to all those who have bravely served our country.
As the grandson of a Gold Star Mother and the son of a veterans agent, Bill learned at an early age that the best way to honor our veterans is to fight for them at home. He saw firsthand on a daily basis just how vital our many veterans’ services are to the men and women who have risked everything to ensure our freedom.
Bill has made assisting our veterans and their families one of the hallmarks of his service in Congress. While only in office a few months, he formed a Veterans Advisory Board, made up of veterans and their advocates in the Ninth District of Massachusetts, in order to ensure that the voices of these men and women are heard.
He is also a member of numerous Congressional organizations aiming to help service members, veterans, and their families, including: the Invisible Wounds Caucus, the Military Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Caucus, the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus, and the Veterans Jobs Caucus, among others.
Bill supports increasing the veterans COLA, strengthening TRICARE, and ensuring that the spouses and children of service members receive all the benefits they deserve. He has also been an outspoken advocate for expanded access to much-needed mental health care at the VA that is critical to combating this unacceptably high number of veteran suicides and suicide attempts.
GOLD STAR FAMILIES
Bill introduced the Gold Star Families Equality Act, which will provide Gold Star parents with access to retail and commissary benefits currently only available to spouses and children. Granting Gold Star parents access to retail and commissary benefits will serve as a symbol of our Nation’s commitment to honoring all those who have selflessly devoted themselves to protecting our freedom.
A provision of the Gold Star Families Equality Act involved creating a Gold Star Family Card, whichwould be a new form of identification and serve as credentials for Gold Star Families.Through discussions with Gold Star parents, it came to light that while certain admirable companies and businesses give discounts to Gold Star families, these parents, spouses, and children have had difficulties and feel uncomfortable having to explain their Gold Star status to access these discounts. Having a Gold Star Family Card would provide survivors with the respect and recognition they deserve without any explanation needed. These cards will be modeled after a currently existing Army program, but would extend across all branches of the Armed Forces. The Gold Star Family Card also provides entry to military installations for services, events and memorials.
To further fight for the creation of a Gold Star Family Card, Bill authored a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House of Representatives.
Veterans Affairs outreach clinics are important resources that our veterans use every day, and for that reason Bill has consistently supported funding these clinics to serve our veterans. In 2012, Bill helped establish a new outreach clinic in the Ninth District, located on Long Pond Road in Plymouth. This clinic offers primary care services and access to specialty care to veterans residing throughout our local region, and it has been extremely successful in serving the men and women who have fought in uniform. He will continue to support measures to expand and enhance veteran outreach services.
Due to past allegations of systemic fraud at dozens of VA facilities, the VA launched an investigation into these allegations of misconduct, and while this is an important first step, we must ensure that our veterans receive the high-quality health care to which their service and sacrifice entitle them. As such, Bill supported the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, which incorporates a Veteran’s Choice Program (VCP) option earlier in the referral hierarchy when care is not available within the VA system.
KOREAN WAR MEMORIAL
Bill authored a provision in the National Korea Defense Service Memorial Bill of 2015 to establish a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery for all Members of the Armed Forces who have served and died on the Korean Peninsula post the Korean War. This resolution will not cost any taxpayer dollars but instead be funded by private donations, and is supported by various local and national veterans groups.
In 2013, Bill was awarded the United States Charles Dick Medal of Merit to recognize his contributions to the National Guard.