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December 30, 2017

In December Podcast, King Highlights Maine Veterans Supporting Fellow Veterans

BRUNSWICK, ME – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today released the December edition of his Inside Maine podcast. In this edition, Senator King speaks with Travis Mills, a retired Army veteran, quadruple amputee and founder of the Travis Mills Foundation in Maine. Senator King then speaks with Jack Richards, a veteran and board member of the Veteran Mentors of Maine program. Senator King and his guests discuss how best help Maine veterans successfully transition into civilian life after service.

“Maine has one of the highest percentages of veterans in the country; they’re our friends, our neighbors, and our heroes,” said Senator King. “These veterans deserve our utmost gratitude, and our continuous support – particularly as they transition back into civilian life. That’s why it was so great to talk with Travis Mills and Jack Richards, both veterans themselves who have gone the extra mile to help struggling veterans regain a sense of purpose and direction. Travis and Jack’s efforts give these men and women an opportunity to realize their full potential – it was an honor to speak to them and learn more about their important and meaningful work.”

Retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills of the 82nd Airborne is a motivational speaker and advocate for veterans and amputees. While serving in Afghanistan in 2012, Travis lost portions of both his arms and legs in Afghanistan from an IED. He is only one of five quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive the injuries. Since then, he’s created the Travis Mills Foundation, a Maine-based non-profit aimed at supporting injured veterans and their families. The Foundation’s work includes the establishment of the Travis Mills Foundation Veteran Retreat, which brings injured veterans and their family to Maine in order to help the veterans overcome physical obstacles with the support of family members. Jack Richards serves on the board of the Veteran Mentors of Maine, a non-profit organization that supports and mentors Maine veterans in the justice system.  

Since arriving in Washington, Senator King has been a strong advocate for veterans issues. Earlier this month, Senator King announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs will fund three new positions in Maine to better serve justice-involved Maine veterans confronting homelessness, mental health or substance abuse issues – a move which comes after his February letter to the Department urging additional resources on the topic. Over Veterans Day weekend, he joined members of the community to observe Veterans Day at Northern Maine Veterans’ Cemetery in Caribou, where he provided keynote remarks and participated in the wreath laying ceremony. He also spoke at the opening of the Maine Troop Greeters Museum at Bangor International Airport, and presented World War II Veteran and Penobscot Tribal Elder with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol. Last month, Sen. King also announced his support for two bills to protect and support American veterans.

These are just the latest examples of Senator King’s support for Maine’s veteran population. Through his work on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator King has supported multiple amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that support American veterans. In the Fiscal Year 2018 NDAA, Senator King cosponsored a bipartisan amendment authored by Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) that would encourage cooperation and integration between the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense with their electronic health care record systems to improve the transition from active duty to veteran status and ensure that veterans won’t have to wait to gain access to the health care services they have earned. He also supported an amendment authored by Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) that would encourage the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Defense to assess the feasibility of establishing a joint office to house an interagency task force on suicide prevention. Senator King supports the coordination between the departments so that those who have served do not slip through the cracks. He is a strong supporter of the Veterans Choice Program, which helps veterans across Maine and the nation receive health care within their communities and allows veterans in Northern Maine to seamlessly utilize community care as they formerly did under the Access Received Closer to Home (ARCH) pilot. In August, the President signed into law Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act, legislation he cosponsored that would overhaul the Department of Veteran Affairs’ (VA) appeals process.

The “Inside Maine Podcast with Senator Angus King” is a 30-minute program that aims to help keep Maine people informed about issues of the day, how they affect life in the state, and how they factor into Senator King’s work as one of two independents in the U.S. Senate. Senator King’s podcast builds on his existing radio show that airs on Newsradio WGAN in Portland, Maine between 10 and 11 a.m. on almost every last Saturday of the month.

A link to the December podcast can be found HERE.


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