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Honoring Veterans, Service Members, Their Families, Caregivers and Survivors

The freedom we enjoy as Americans is not free, and we owe a debt of gratitude to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Guardians, and Coast Guardsman who have made sacrifices for all of us. Thanking our troops and Veterans for their service matters, but we need to demonstrate that gratitude by advancing policies that support the bravest among us. If elected to Congress, I commit to being a staunch advocate for Veterans, active military personnel, and their families.

Support for Veteran Entrepreneurship:

If elected, I would support expansion of training services for Veterans interested in starting their own businesses upon completion of their service. I would support policies that incentivize the hiring of Veteran owned businesses as primary contractors and subcontractors for both public and private projects to help Veterans break into business networks.

In Congress, I will:

  • SUPPORT the Veteran Entrepreneurs Act, granting a business-related tax credit of 25% of up to $400,000 of the franchise fees paid or incurred by an eligible Veteran for the purchase of a franchise.

  • SUPPORT the Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Act, providing entrepreneurship training to individuals including veterans and active members of the Armed Forces, to be administered by the Small Business Administration.

  • SUPPORT the Investing in VETS Act, raising from 3% to 5% the federal contracting participation goal for small businesses that are owned and controlled by service-disabled Veterans.

Military Families and Spouses:

  • SUPPORT the Military Spouse Hiring Act to add military spouses as a Target Group of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC), providing tax benefits to employers who hire military spouses.

  • SUPPORT the Job Security for Military Families Act, extending protections listed in the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) to military spouses.

  • SUPPORT the Improving Access to Maternal Health for Military and Dependent Moms Act ensuring service members and spouses receive proper and sufficient maternity services.

  • SUPPORT the Maintaining Our Obligation to Moms Who Serve Act, requiring the Secretary of Defense to establish a program for  perinatal mental health prevention for pregnant and postpartum members of the Armed Forces and their families.

  • SUPPORT the More Child Care and Jobs for Military Families Act, expanding child care access and employment opportunities for military families in military installations.

Improving GI Bill Benefits and Accessibility:

The GI Bill offers impactful educational benefits for service members, however like many other government programs it is hard to navigate. Creating resources that make determining benefits and eligibility easier will be a key priority.

In Congress, I will:

  • COSPONSOR the Sgt. Isaac Woodard, Jr. and Sgt. Joseph H. Maddox GI Bill Restoration Act, expanding eligibility for Post-9/11 GI bill benefits and the VA home loan program to Black Veterans and their families who were historically denied benefits on account of their race, as well as requiring the VA to appoint a panel of independent experts to develop recommendations regarding additional benefits and assistance for female and minority members of the Armed Forces.

  • SUPPORT making the Forever GI Bill applicable to those who served back to 2001.

  • ELIMINATE the time limit on how long Veterans or their families have to use the GI Bill’s educational benefits for those whose education have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Improving VA Healthcare:

The VA must be equipped with the funding, personnel, and policies needed to provide comprehensive healthcare benefits to our Veterans. I firmly supported the PACT Act that improved access to care for Veterans exposed to toxics during their service.

In Congress, I will:

  • SUPPORT the full implementation of the PACT Act, the Deborah Sampson Act, the VA MISSION Act and the VA Caregivers Program.

  • SUPPORT VA outreach efforts across Western Maryland, to ensure all Veterans can maximize their benefits.

Eliminating Veteran Homelessness

  • Members of our military leave home to protect it, but too many return and find that they no longer have a home to come back to. I am a firm supporter of guaranteeing access to housing. We have a duty to ensure that no one who sacrificed for their country is forced to live on the street.

In Congress, I will:

  • FULLY FUND the HUD-VASH program, an ongoing collaboration between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the VA, working to end Veteran homelessness once and for all

Expanding Access to Veteran Mental Health Support

The scars of service come in all shapes and sizes, some visible, others not. Today, reports suggest that 41 percent of Veterans are in need of mental health care programs every year. Access remains insufficient. Championing access to mental health care was a primary focus for me in the State Legislature, and I intend to continue that fight in Congress.

In Congress, I will:

  • SUPPORT the Revising and Expediting Actions for the Crisis Hotline (REACH) for Veterans Act, requiring the VA to update training and procedures for call responders of the Veterans Crisis Line to improve quality of care provision, and aligning quality with market standards.

  • COSPONSOR the Post-9/11 Veterans’ Mental Health Care Improvement Act, requiring the VA to expand access to mental health care, expand its mental health workforce, and conduct studies and research on how to better address Veteran mental health challenges.

  • OVERSEEING continued funding and quality service provision for the four VA clinics currently providing services in District 06: Fort Detrick VA Clinic, Hagerstown VA Clinic, Montgomery County VA Clinic, and Cumberland VA Clinic

Financial Assistance For Servicemembers

The choice to serve is one that should not come at the cost of your family’s financial wellbeing. With costs continuing to rise at home, we have a responsibility to ensure that service members have the financial means necessary to look after themselves and their families. If elected I would support pay raises for the military service members, and work to ensure active duty service members and their families have the financial support they need.

In Congress, I will:

  • SUPPORT the Basic Needs Allowance (BNA) Fairness Act, making BNA exempt from federal income taxes.

Protecting Access to Reproductive Care

If elected to Congress, I will be a fierce advocate for nationwide abortion protections. We have a responsibility to ensure that service members can access reproductive care no matter where they are deployed.

In Congress, I will:

  • COSPONSOR the Protecting Service Members and Military Families’ Access to Health Care Act, codifying access to non-covered reproductive health care, including abortion services, for service members and their families regardless of the state in which they are stationed.

Improving Safety Precautions for Military Equipment and Training Practices

Members of our armed forces join the military knowing that they are putting their lives at risk to defend our nation. That choice, however, in no way lessens our responsibility to reduce safety and health risks for military personnel in any way we can. Reports suggest that 73% of active-duty personnel and mobilized reservist casualties occurred under circumstances unrelated to war. Many more suffer from health complications received due to unsafe practices on bases and in training. This cannot continue. If elected, I will make it a priority to ensure that we honor the sacrifice and service of our military by taking every precaution possible to keep them safe.

In Congress, I will:

  • SUPPORT the Military Equipment Quality and Safety Reform Act, requiring the department of defense to establish and implement a comprehensive system for analyzing and addressing nonconformities in the aftermath of all Class A Mishaps (military personnel deaths or permanent injuries) to more effectively root out the causes of training or on-base deaths.

  • INTRODUCE legislation directing the Department of Defense to act on recent studies that reveal the brain injury risks of shoulder-fired missiles for our troops.

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