April 29, 2022
Waterville, ME – Today, U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King spoke at the 48th Annual Department of Maine Disabled American Veterans (DAV) State Convention.
The DAV State Convention began with an opening ceremony with a color guard followed by speakers and committee meetings throughout the day. On Saturday, the convention will continue with business meetings; installation of officers; and a keynote speaker, Scott Trimarchi, DAV Assistant National Service Director.
“From my father, I learned that the heroes who wear the uniforms of America’s armed forces are peace-loving men and women who fight to advance the cause of freedom and justice,” said Senator Collins. “DAV helps the brave veterans who defended our freedom regain their health, rebuild their lives, and further their education and job skills. Perhaps most important, DAV helps them rejoin the civilian world with the honor and respect they have earned at such great cost. No organization serves a nobler cause. No organization serves a cause that is more deserving of the support of the American people and of the American government. Our nation is grateful to you, and I am honored to serve America’s veterans in the Senate.”
“Maine’s disabled veterans have made extraordinary sacrifices for our country and our freedoms. We owe each of them a deep debt of gratitude, and have a collective responsibility to recognize, honor, and remember their service,“ said Senator King. “It was a true honor and a privilege to speak at the Maine Disabled American Veterans Convention today and to thank all our state’s veterans for their selfless sense of duty. I heard firsthand about the issues facing our Maine veterans, from benefit improvements to mental health challenges, and saw the incredible work being done to provide emergency shelters to veterans in need. I look forward to continued work with the DAV to deliver on our nation’s bedrock commitment to our servicemembers.”
As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins has been a longstanding advocate for our veterans and their families. Last year, she introduced a bill that would reduce the financial burden for severely disabled veterans who require special adaptive equipment to drive a motor vehicle. Also last year, President Biden signed into law legislation she co-authored to help to address the maternal mortality crisis among women veterans by helping improve care at VA facilities. In addition, the Senate recently unanimously passed legislation Senator Collins co-authored to improve veteran’s access to lifesaving breast cancer screening and care. In 2018, she led the enactment of legislation which expanded VA’s Caregiver program to veterans of all generations, not just those who served after 9/11. She has also championed the HUD-VASH program, which has contributed to the more than 50 percent decline in veterans homelessness since 2010, and she strongly advocated for the community care system for rural veterans established in the VA Mission Act.
Representing one of the states with the highest rates of veterans per capita, Senator King has been a staunch advocate for America’s servicemembers and veterans. Recently, he introduced the Honoring Purple Heart Recipients Act of 2022 to recognize the sacrifices of Purple Heart medal recipients, and the Major Richard Star Act to help provide more disabled veterans with full military benefits. King has worked to honor and preserve the stories of America’s veterans with his Answering the Call interview series in partnership with the Library of Congress. He also recently introduced the Save Our Servicemembers (S.O.S.) Act, which would work to improve Department of Defense’s servicemember suicide prevention efforts, and has worked to improve the services for Maine veterans across the state, including at the Togus campus in Augusta.
Senators Collins and King have also been strong advocates for preserving Maine veterans’ access to long-term care. When Maine Veterans’ Homes made public in February its plans to close its Caribou and Machias facilities, the Maine Delegation and Governor Janet Mills, as well as legislators from Aroostook and Washington counties, immediately began working to reverse this decision. Following this united effort, MVH changed course and decided to keep both the Caribou and Machias veterans homes open.