May 29 - Advocating for Granite State Veterans

 May 29, 2014  

 Advocating for Granite State Veterans

Hi All!

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday weekend. Last week, I advocated on behalf of our veterans and their families, and fought to bring an end to human trafficking. Over the weekend, I joined Senator Sheldon Whitehouse to discuss the effects of climate change on New England’s outdoor recreation economy and I helped honor Granite State veterans and their families around the state on Memorial Day.

Honoring our veterans in Nashua

Honoring our Veterans on Memorial Day 

This Memorial Day, we honored the memory of the valiant men and women who sacrificed their lives in order to serve and protect our nation. They are part of what makes this country great, and we owe them and their families our gratitude and respect. We also honor our courageous men and women who today continue to serve, and who are making extreme personal sacrifices to keep our nation out of harm's way. On Monday and Tuesday, I helped honor and celebrate our veterans in Concord, Nashua, and at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton.

Discussing Climate Change with Senator Whitehouse   

On Friday, I co-hosted a roundtable discussion on the effects of climate change on New Hampshire’s economy with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island, who is one of the lead voices in the Senate on the urgent need to address climate change on the federal level. During the roundtable, we discussed how warmer winters and climate change are altering the landscape of New Hampshire’s natural environment, which many of the state’s outdoor recreation and tourism industry businesses rely on to succeed. 

With Senator Whitehouse at the roundtable

Senator Whitehouse and I were joined by a variety of New Hampshire small business owners and local ski area, snowmobiling, maple sugar, and hospitality representatives to discuss how climate change is directly affecting their businesses and New Hampshire’s economy on the whole. We also discussed the recently released National Climate Assessment report, and outlined steps that leaders on the federal level should take to curb the effects of climate change and prevent additional harm to New Hampshire’s economy.

Fighting for our Veterans in Washington

Last week, I continued to push the VA to immediately rectify any issues at VA facilities around the country and to provide details about alleged mismanagement and falsifications at the Phoenix VA medical facility. On Wednesday, I voted in favor of legislation giving the Department of Veterans Affairs more authority to fire VA personnel for underperformance.  Then onThursday during a House Veterans’ Affairs Committee meeting, I voted to approve the issuance of subpoenas to VA officials pending their appearance to testify in front of the Committee the following week.

Our veterans made extreme personal sacrifices to serve and protect our great nation, and no veteran should ever have trouble accessing high quality health care services. As a Member of the U.S. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I’m shocked and appalled by the Office of the Inspector General’s (IG) interim report detailing mass, systemic mismanagement of wait times at the VA. This report, coupled with the VA’s gross failure to comply with the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee investigation into this matter, leads me to believe it is time for new leadership at the VA. Last night, I called on VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to tender his resignation, so a new Acting Secretary can take his place and work to immediately provide care for any veteran who is still waiting for health services.

Pushing to End Human Trafficking

I was so proud that my fellow Members of Congress crossed party lines and came together last week to pass four pieces of legislation that will help put an end to the vile practice of human trafficking and provide increased support for victims. I was a cosponsor of the package of legislation and a strong advocate for its passage. Many like to believe that human trafficking is a foreign issue, but this simply is not the case. Tragically, an estimated 293,000 American youth are at risk of commercial exploitation and sex trafficking right here in the United States. These statistics are simply unacceptable, and we must do more to end this horrific practice. We must also ensure victims of human trafficking have access to the support and resources they need to recover. 

I recently hosted a roundtable discussion in Concord, N.H. where I heard from victims and advocates about instances of trafficking that occurred right here in the U.S. It is on behalf of these extremely brave individuals – and all the many others like them – that I fought for passage of these bills, and will continue to fight for additional measures in the House to put an end to human trafficking once and for all. (Please watch my floor speech here)

Have a good week and thanks for everything you do to make New Hampshire such a great place to live! 

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