Today, the Martin Heinrich Campaign launched Vets for Martin, a group of New Mexico veterans committed to electing Heinrich to the United States Senate. "Martin is a strong advocate for all veterans, their families, and working-class New Mexicans," said retired Air Force General George Franzen from Placitas. "I am proud to stand with Martin."
"Martin knows about the challenges facing our returning military members and their families. He doesn't just say he'll fight for us; he shows it in his actions," said Andres Lazo, an Army combat veteran from Bernalillo.
When he arrived in Congress, the first piece of legislation Heinrich wrote was a bill to make it easier for veterans to communicate with the Veterans Administration. Since then, Heinrich has worked to fast-track disability claims for veterans and bring state-of-the-art medical facilities to VA hospitals. He is also an advocate for legislation to provide groundbreaking treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. "As a Navy veteran with a service-related disability, I deeply appreciate Martin's efforts to ensure that the VA is providing the best possible care to myself and others," said former Representative Nate Cote from Las Cruces.
"I first met Martin when I was Commander at the Medical Group at Kirtland Air Force Base," said Diane Reese, a former Air Force Colonel from Albuquerque. "I watched him fight to ensure the health care that was needed was there for us."
"Martin's actions speak louder than words," added Representative Cote. "I find comfort knowing that New Mexico's veterans will have such a powerful voice in the U.S. Senate."
Melvyn Montano, a former Adjutant General with the New Mexico National Guard, said he joined Vets for Martin because of Heinrich's work to bestow the Congressional Gold Medal to "our Bataan veterans who have been forgotten for 70 years." In December 2011, Heinrich reintroduced legislation to honor the Bataan veterans, including many from New Mexico, who endured months of fighting to delay the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in WWII.
Veterans' issues are personal to Heinrich. "I remember how proud my sister was when she enlisted in the Navy," he said. "And I remember the stories of the Philippines, the South Pacific, and Midway Island that my father and grandfather would tell me when I was young. These experiences shaped my view of service at a young age and taught me that each of us has a responsibility to pay tribute to the sacrifices of our veterans."
"I am honored and humbled to receive such enthusiastic support from men and women who have sacrificed so much for their country," said Heinrich.