I am proud to have served in the U.S. Navy alongside service women and men who put their lives on the line to defend our country and our values. Our service members deserve access to educational opportunities, employment, first-class healthcare and rehabilitation, and should not have to travel hours to reach a VA facility.
In my first term, I helped to start the For Country Caucus, a group of veterans from both sides of the aisle, to advocate for our service members, veterans, and their families. I also helped found the Servicewomen and Women Veterans Caucus with my fellow female veterans in Congress, which focuses on the specific needs of our women servicemembers, veterans, and their families.
This congressional term, I am proud to have shepherded major pieces of veterans legislation into law.
Burn pits have been called this generation’s Agent Orange, and I have refused to allow the government to make the same mistakes we did with Vietnam Veterans exposed to toxins. I was so proud to be instrumental in the passage of the Honoring Our PACT Act, landmark legislation that dramatically expands access to benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxins, whether it was a burn pit overseas or contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. We owe it to our veterans to do everything possible to receive the health care they need, and the Honoring Our PACT Act is a huge step in that direction.
Hearing from veterans in our community has helped me be a better advocate in Congress. I am grateful for every opportunity I have to meet with veterans in the community, at roundtable discussions, at my town halls, and when honoring their service at local events. After learning the story of a local veteran who couldn’t afford a service dog—and whose firehouse was raising money to get him one—I joined with Republicans in the House to lead the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act. I am proud to have secured the passage of this life-saving legislation into law.
Since day one, I’ve fought for increased access to Vet Center treatment for New Jersey’s veterans. The data speaks for itself and we are clearly facing a disparity in the availability of this lifesaving care, which is why I led a bipartisan coalition of House Members to introduce the Vet CENTERS for Mental Health Act, which would expand access to Vet Center mental health counseling across a wide breadth of American communities and provide life-saving services to veterans across the country, including in Northern New Jersey.
Women make up nearly 20 percent of our Armed Forces, but the VA has not adequately addressed the needs of this growing population. I’ve pushed to improve VA healthcare services for them by increasing support for homeless women veterans with children, and expanding access to child care services at the VA. One of the first amendments I passed in the House was to expand child care services for service members who have experienced military sexual trauma. I also proudly supported the Deborah Sampson Act in the House, which addresses barriers to care for women veterans.
In Congress, I have worked to make sure veterans in our community have top-notch constituent services to help navigate the federal benefit systems. We have helped veterans resolve unpaid VA medical bills, obtain service records, and access benefits they earned through their service.
I have also helped to pass veterans legislation into law including the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, the VA Tele-Hearing Modernization Act, the Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act, the Sgt. Ketchum Rural Veterans Mental Health Act of 2021, and the REMOTE Act. I proudly supported the Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act, the Gold Star Family Fellowship Program, and the Veterans Compensation COLA Act.