Amy On The Issues

Honoring Our Veterans and Military Families

Veterans are a core part of South Jersey’s identity and community. More than 350,000 veterans live in New Jersey, and the counties with the highest concentration of veterans—Cape May, Salem, Ocean, and Burlington—are all in our district. Veterans make up almost nine percent of the population of Cape May County, which is also the proud home of the fifth-largest Coast Guard base and sole accession point for the service’s entire enlisted corps.

Supporting South Jersey’s veterans is therefore both a moral and an economic imperative. Yet South Jersey is too rural to have its own veterans hospital, forcing former servicemembers to drive hours or wait months to receive critical benefits and care. Too many veterans in our district still lack access to quality housing, training, and job opportunities. And despite the enormous sacrifices they make for our country, too many women veterans and military spouses struggle to get by and provide for their families.

America promises our men and women in uniform that, in exchange for their selfless dedication to our country, our government will dedicate the resources necessary to support them when they return home. Honoring and fulfilling that promise will be one of my top priorities in Congress.

I will always be a champion for South Jersey’s veterans and military families, including by fighting to:

Expand access to mental health and addiction care

The men and women who put their lives on the line to serve our country deserve world-class care when they come home. Yet every year we lose thousands of our veterans to the invisible wounds of war.

In Congress, I will fight to:

  • Make sure that all returning veterans and active-duty military are screened for post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health and addiction challenges.
  • Increase outreach to veterans to connect them with services, including by using other veterans in outreach and support.
  • Hire more mental health professionals within the Veterans Administration.
  • End veterans’ homelessness by making sure that every veteran has access to safe, supportive housing.
  • Invest in veteran suicide prevention programs, including for national guardsmen, reservists, and military families.
  • Expand veterans courts, which divert veterans with mental health and substance disorders from the criminal justice system and into long-term treatment and recovery programs.

Reform and strengthen the Veterans Administration

Veterans in South Jersey are too often required to travel significant distances to receive Veterans Administration care. Our veterans should not be forced to go to other states for treatment or wait months to receive critical services.The men and women who put their lives on the line to serve our country deserve world-class care when they come home. Yet every year we lose thousands of our veterans to the invisible wounds of war.

In Congress, I will fight to:

  • Expand VA clinics in South Jersey and ensure that every veteran has access to the closest VA providers.
  • Allow veterans access to trained, qualified community providers, so that veterans who want or need to can use their VA, Medicare, or Medicaid coverage to receive quality care at local hospitals.
  • Fully staff and fund the VA—and oppose efforts to gut or privatize it.
  • Provide the resources necessary to end the claims and appeals backlog.
  • Make sure women veterans receive full and equal treatment, including reproductive health services.
  • Address systemic problems within the VA through aggressive oversight, transparency, investment, and coordination.

Help veterans transition back into their communities from active duty

Congress should do everything in its power to help servicemembers reenter civilian life, working closely with veteran service and community organizations to connect veterans with education opportunities and good-paying jobs.

In Congress, I will fight to:

  • Protect, expand, and increase flexibility in the Post-9/11 GI Bill so that all veterans can exercise their right to earn a degree or enroll in a technical or vocational training program.
  • Close loopholes that allow for-profit colleges to target veterans for their benefits, while providing debt relief for student veterans scammed by for-profit schools.
  • Invest in veteran entrepreneurs by increasing small-business loan programs and allowing veterans to use their GI Bill benefits as seed money for start-ups.
  • Support the Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act, which will help train unemployed veterans for careers in high-demand occupations.
  • Make sure America’s two million women veterans have equal access to education, health care, jobs, and economic opportunities.

Support military families

Military families make enormous sacrifices that too often go unnoticed and unaddressed. We have a moral obligation to ensure military spouses and children have access to good-paying jobs, education and training, childcare, and other family-friendly services.

In Congress, I will fight to:

  • Make sure that every military family has access to affordable childcare.
  • Invest to upgrade military housing, so that no military family is forced to live in unsafe or unhealthy homes.
  • Address the high military spouse unemployment rate by expanding licensing and training programs, create hiring preferences for military spouses, and enrolling spouses in federal student loan forgiveness programs.
  • Protect military families from predatory lenders, for-profit colleges, and other scammers. 
  • Build up and strengthen the ACA to ensure all veterans and military family members without VA benefits have access to quality, affordable health care—including through a public option.

Ensure all veterans receive fair and just treatment

Too many veterans have lost access to critical services due to discrimination or small infractions—including discharges related to undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder.

In Congress, I will fight to:

  • Support efforts to pardon veterans who unjustly received other-than-honorable discharges without due process, including veterans with PTSD.
  • Allow transgender service members to continue to serve in or join the military.
  • Grant honorable discharges and benefits access to veterans removed from service due solely to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Protect noncitizen veterans from deportation and provide pathways to citizenship for veterans and their family members.

Protect veterans from COVID-19

Our veterans health system is playing a critical role responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Protecting veterans, their families, health care providers, and VA staff from COVID-19 remains an urgent priority.

In Congress, I will fight to:

  • Continue to provide emergency funding to the VA for essential medical supplies, including testing kits and ventilators, so that all veterans have access to COVID-19 care when they need it.
  • Provide the resources necessary for state veterans homes and VA-run nursing homes to effectively treat COVID-19 and prevent future outbreaks.
  • Protect VA medical personnel, making sure they have the personal protective equipment, pay, and workplace protections they need to do their jobs safely.
  • Continue to ensure that student veterans do not lose their GI Bill benefits or housing allowance because their college or university has closed or transitioned to online learning.

Empower local veteran leadership

I pledge to partner with local leaders to implement my veterans and military families plan. I will stand up a South Jersey Veterans Advisory Board to identify pro-veteran policies and help fight for those policies in Congress. Together, we can ensure that South Jersey veterans have the support and congressional leadership they deserve.