To honor the men and women who serve our country, state and federal policy should demonstrate respect for their service and sacrifices made by ensuring a smooth transition from military to civilian life and providing benefits to honor our veterans’ service. We support the continuation and enhancement of veteran’s benefits, including post military training, medical and disability. We support a new G.I Bill to increase educational benefits for veterans to fully cover the cost of a college degree and related housing expenses. We support the Texas Veterans Land Board, which enables veterans to purchase land and homes at favorable terms and interest rates.
In many VA hospitals and medical facilities, scandalous budget shortfalls have become so severe that they stopped scheduling new appointments, were unable to replace doctors and nurses when they left,and were even unable to keep surgical suites operational due to a lack of equipment. Texas Democrats support:
● professional licensing for skills learned in the military, like “Troops to Teachers;”
● job training for veterans;
● adequate and affordable health insurance coverage and health care services for veterans and
their families, including mental health care services;
● restoring funding and service cuts and expanding clinical services at VA Medical Centers;
● legislation that appropriately addresses the role of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and PostTraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among members of the armed forces and ensures proper treatment for all veterans and members of the armed forces with disabilities.
● The full extension of benefits to families of veterans who sustain partial or permanent disabilities, including post injury and PTSD individual and family counseling, cost of living monthly allowances, childcare assistance, tuition assistance for dependent children, and assistance in job training or referral for the spouse of the veteran;
● the establishment of a new, full service VA Hospital in South Texas and restoration of the Kerrville Veterans’ Administration Hospital to its past status of general medical facility to care for veterans in the Hill Country;
● extending the right of full citizenship to non-citizen veterans who have served our country;
● programs to encourage and support veterans and their families to obtain higher education, such as expanding the Hazlewood Act to permit veterans who have not fully utilized their entitlement to pass on any remainder of the unused credit hours to their children;
● state legislation to allow Texas veterans to use their G.I. Bill benefits and Hazlewood Act benefits concurrently; and
● student loan forgiveness in exchange for public service, including military service, Peace Corps, Teach for America, AmeriCorps, and similar programs.
Supporting the Men and Women of the Military Texas should demonstrate its support for military families and communities. We insist that our military members on active duty and in the Reserve receive fair pay and allowances. They must be the best 8 organized, trained, and equipped fighting force possible. We encourage city, county, state, and federal elected officials to review present benefits and determine how they can be enhanced. We also demand truth in recruiting, including a provision that parental permission be required to authorize the recruitment of minors. Texas Democrats support:
● providing appropriate personal and vehicle protection for all combat military personnel;
● programs that assist families of deployed service members in managing difficulties created by longer and more frequent deployments of Guard and Reserve personnel; such as counseling,
debt service delays, tax deferrals, and basic needs assistance;
● initiatives to financially assist families of service members who suffer an extended loss of employment income due to extended or repeated deployments;
● interstate cooperation to enable the successful transition of families forced to move from one state to another, including changes involving public education, job searches, and health care continuity;
● preventing predatory lending practices targeted at military personnel and their families, such as payday loans and sale-leaseback transactions;
● a prohibition of a military draft absent a congressional declaration of war; and an end to practices that change deployment and other terms of service for existing military personnel in the middle of the game that amount to a draft in disguise;
● the right of all military personnel to serve without discrimination, sexual abuse or prejudice;
● the right of female soldiers and dependents to have the same access to the full range of reproductive choices and related services that are provided to others;
● adequate time off between deployments; and
● providing any Texas Veteran that has a disability associated with service in the Armed Forces that is assigned a percentage of disability by the Veterans Administration, be granted the same percentage reduction in junior college or college tuition, room, board, books, and any other cost of obtaining additional training or education in a state-supported Junior College, Community College, or Four Year College or University.
Charles Urbina-Jones • SDEC COMMITTEEMAN
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Susan Lewis • SDEC COMMITTEEWOMAN
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