Veterans are such a vital part of our community, and San Diego has the largest concentration of veterans in the nation, approximately 28,000. When these Americans volunteered to serve our country, we made a commitment to provide them with certain programs and benefits in exchange for their service. When elected to Congress, I will be a tireless advocate to preserve programs that help our returning veterans cope with the adjustment back to civilian life.
I oppose privatizing veterans' benefits. We made a promise that these benefits would always be there to assist those who served our country. Privatizing these benefits would present too many risks to that promise.
I will make it a priority to examine the VA to determine if it is providing the absolute best possible level of service, and I support additional funding for the VA.
I support the GI Bill because it rewards young people eager to earn a college education in return for serving their country.
The unemployment rate for our veterans has recently fallen, but there's still much more to do. It troubles me to know that the unemployment rate for Afghanistan and Iraq veterans aged 18 to 24 is 27% in San Diego, more than three times the national unemployment rate. We need to continue our investment in job-training programs. I support and will continue to support programs such as the Veterans Re-Boot Project that provide not just job training, but also help our service men and women re-enter their lives as husbands, fathers, mothers, and wives.
I support providing services that address the mental health issues that lead too many of our veterans to the condition of homelessness.
I support affordable housing for veterans and military families. Servicemen and women make many sacrifices in order to defend our freedoms, and they shouldn't be priced out of affordable housing in safe neighborhoods with access to quality schools..
Our veterans need to know their Congressional representative will stand up, fight, and preserve these programs and benefits. We have allowed far too many veterans in need to fall through the cracks. We must do more to honor the sacrifices made by those who have defended our freedoms. Throughout my time in public service, I have demonstrated the ability to bring different groups together to find consensus and move forward to solve the problems confronting us. This is not the type of leadership we've seen from our current representative, who has voted against millions of dollars in funding for veterans' medical services. Nor is this the type of consensus building we've seen from other candidates seeking this office. I can go to Congress and use my commonsense approach to problem solving and fight to preserve the commitment we've made to our service men and women.