From one generation to the next, our Veterans have stood up for America.
Some are looking to live out their final years with dignity. Some are returning from overseas wounded, with a long rehabilitation ahead. Most are simply looking for a job and an opportunity. They've fulfilled their promise to America, and America should fulfill its promise to them.
A member of my family has served our country during every period of conflict dating back to the Revolution and my dad served in the military during three wars.
The Army gave me a chance to climb the ladder and I became the Commander of my Blackhawk Helicopter Unit. I am proud to have been one of the first Army women to fly combat missions in Iraq. I am honored to continue my service as a member of the Illinois National Guard.
After I recovered from my injuries in Iraq, I was asked to serve our nation's Veterans as the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. While there, I implemented many first in the nation programs to address Post Traumatic Stress, improve traumatic brain injury screening, and offered state health insurance program to Veterans. I also created a tax credit for Illinois businesses who hire OEF/OIF/Desert Storm Veterans. Hundreds of Veterans have been hired throughout the state with this tax credit.
In 2009 I was selected to serve as an Assistant Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where I created and managed programs that got our Veterans back to work and off the streets. During my tenure at the VA, we significantly reduced the number of homeless Veterans. I also increased accessibility and accountability by creating the Office of Online Communications.
I was honored to serve America's Veterans over the past five years and will always be a voice for these heroic men and women.