From the Hill to the Mountains: A weekly column by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)
September 12, 2012
One of the most important things I can do as a United States Senator is to connect the people of our great state with the right resources to help solve their problems. In that spirit, my office has hosted dozens of meetings and programs with experts in the areas of small business growth, caring for your aging loved ones and keeping our promises to our veterans.
This week, my office was honored yet again to help our veterans, and we hosted four public meetings across West Virginia to connect our servicemembers and their families with the benefits they need and deserve. I am proud that I was able to partner with leaders from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance, who came together to deliver vital information and assistance to West Virginia veterans in need.
As Governor, and now as your U.S. Senator serving on the Senate Armed Services Committee, honoring our veterans is a top priority. West Virginians who have put their lives on the line for the freedoms that we enjoy each and every day deserve the best jobs, education, housing and medical care that we can provide. Making sure that veterans get the help they need is one way we can show our thanks for their service and sacrifice.
Too often, veterans, family members and caregivers feel that their problems are unique and they must go it alone. Our young women and men who are just coming home from today’s battlefields face serious challenges that don’t just affect the veteran, but their whole family. That is why I am so eager to host these meetings and give veterans a chance to learn firsthand what opportunities and support are available to them right in their communities.
My office’s work on behalf of our veterans doesn’t stop at these outreach meetings, though. I am working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to end the unemployment crisis among our veterans. That is why, with my friend Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, I launched the Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus. The caucus has grown to include 33 Senators and 22 members of the House of Representatives. We started the “I Hire Veterans” project to reduce the dire unemployment problem faced by our veterans.
I have also offered measures to ensure that military families have a voice on the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, expand mental health assessments to all service members and increase career counseling services for service members who separate from the military – and I will always keep these commitments at the top of my priority list.
As I have said so many times before, we need to set our priorities based on our country’s values. As Americans and as West Virginians, I know our top priorities are honoring our veterans, keeping our promises to seniors, ending our dependence on foreign oil, getting our fiscal house in order and creating thousands of new jobs.
So, if you know of veterans in need, or a family member struggling with a loved one, please encourage them to contact my office. There is no better way to show gratitude to our veterans than to ensure that they get the help they need.
These outreach events are just one small way to say thank you. I thank those veterans who were able to attend this week’s events, and I thank all veterans for their patriotism and sacrifice. I also thank their families for their unwavering support and commitment to this great nation of ours.