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Veterans Affairs

Where I Stand

Maine is home to one of the highest percentages of veterans per capita in the country and serving veterans is one of Congress’ most solemn duties. It’s crucial that all generations of veterans receive their earned health care and benefits. This means expansions of coverage and inflation adjustments, but also investments in the VA workforce to improve retention and recruitment to ensure sufficient staffing to serve our veterans.  

After all they’ve done for our nation, veterans deserve to age with dignity with flexible long-term care options. More than half of all veterans who use the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are over the age of 65, and the VA estimates that the number of veterans in Maine over the age of 85 who will be eligible for long-term care benefits will increase by 31% over the next 10 years. These veterans deserve access to expanded home and community-based care.

Transitioning from military to civilian life is also a precarious time for our veterans, and there is an increased rate of suicide in the first year after separation. There is more to be done to support our veterans during this transition and create a “warm handoff” from military service to civilian life.

What I've Done

  • Serve on the Veterans Affairs and Armed Services Committee.
  • Helped to pass the PACT Act of 2022 to expand VA healthcare and compensation benefits eligibility for more than 3.5 million veterans with exposure to toxic hazards like burn pits, Agent Orange, and other dangerous substances. 
  • Helped to pass the Veterans COLA Act of 2023, which increase benefits for 30,000 Maine veterans and their families.
    • With veterans in Maine continuing to deal with inflation, this bill aims to alleviate that struggle by giving the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disabled veteran’s compensation, Survivors’ Pension, and clothing allowances, the same annual cost-of-living adjustment as Social Security.
  • Introduced the Reimburse Veterans for Domiciliary which would require the VA to reimburse Maine Veterans Home for domiciliary care provided to veterans struggling with dementia and make those payments retroactive to January 2021.
  • Introduced the VET-TEC Authorization Act which would permanently authorize the Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET-TEC) program that help veterans access high technology jobs. The program provides tuition at eligible training institutions, housing stipends, and connections with potential employers.
  • Cosponsored the Major Richard Star Act, which would allow veterans with a combat-related disability and fewer than 20 years of creditable service to receive retirement pay, without reduction, concurrent with disability compensation.
  • Cosponsored the Elizabeth Dole Home Care Act, and the Expanding Options for Long Term Care Act to make sure aging veterans in Maine are able to choose care that best suits their and their families’ needs.
  • Host a podcast with the Library of Congress for the historical preservation of our veterans and their experiences in the service.