Today Otto Lee, candidate for Congressional District 22, outlined his veterans policy, highlighting efforts to address veterans' unemployment rates and expand benefits for veterans and their families. The unemployment rate for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is 12 percent, and it is 20 percent for those ages 18-24. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) must ensure it is meeting the needs of an aging veteran population while confronting the stresses of modern warfare.
"It is easy to say that one supports the troops, but we need to make sure that those supporters back that statement with money." stated Lee. "Service members and military families need all the backing we can offer to them."
"From my years of Navy service, I understand that these "benefits' are really commitments being honored, not government goodies being given out. Our country made promises to our service members for their sacrifices, and reductions and delays in providing them -- such as the long wait for the opening of the Fresno veterans home -- are unconscionable," added Lee.
Lee's policy highlights include:
* Tax credits for hiring vets, including those with service-connected disabilities;
* More comprehensive, faster VA support for disabled soldiers and troops separating from service;
* Expanded services for veterans living in rural areas;
* Greater mental health services, including post-traumatic stress disorder support and marriage and family therapists; and
* Greater educational opportunities for vets and, in certain cases, their families.
Lee recently spoke to students at La Sierra Military Academy in Visalia as part of a career day. He joined generations of veterans from all branches of the Armed Forces to discuss their experiences. "It was a great reminder that our vets deserve much recognition and respect for serving our country in so many ways," Lee said.