U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined the Dartmouth Graduate Veterans Association at Dartmouth College today for a discussion on issues impacting veterans and our national security. Shaheen, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and also sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, specifically highlighted the need to address sexual assaults in the military, an issue that she has been a national leader on, during this afternoon's meeting.
Along with the Dartmouth veterans, Shaheen was joined by Jim Wright, President Emeritus of Dartmouth College, Maj. Christina Fanitzi, President of the Tuck Armed Forces Alumni Association, and Amanda Childress, Coordinator for Dartmouth's Sexual Assault Awareness Program, this afternoon.
"Our active-duty service members and veterans have made tremendous sacrifices for our country. We have an obligation to honor their service by addressing the challenges they and their families face," Shaheen said.
"Congress needs to do everything in its power to incentivize hiring of veterans, address the VA backlog and combat the unacceptably high number of sexual assaults in our armed forces." Shaheen added, "We must also do more to help veterans make the transition to civilian life with good-paying jobs and opportunities for higher education."
Shaheen has utilized her positions on the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees to advocate for veterans and make sure they receive the benefits and protections they deserve. Shaheen worked to exempt veterans' healthcare benefits from sequester cuts and has led efforts on the VOW to Hire Heroes Act and Veterans Jobs Corps Act, two pieces of legislation designed to help veterans find good-paying jobs after they complete their service.
Last year, Shaheen also introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to repeal a discriminatory policy preventing female service members who were victims of rape or incest from receiving the same health care coverage as the civilians they protect. The amendment, which brings the Department of Defense's reproductive health care polices in line with federal standards, passed with bipartisan support and was signed into law last December.