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Senator Stevens Outlines Vision on Veterans Issues Facing Alaska

Press Release

Location: Anchorage, AK

Supporters Launch "Veterans for Stevens" Group

Standing alongside fellow Alaska veterans, Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) today announced his key priorities on veterans issues. The Senator will help veterans by working to increase funding for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), introducing legislation to ensure core services are available within reasonable distances from all Alaska veterans, promoting partnerships with the Alaska Tribal Health System, and increasing utilization of telemedicine to better serve rural veterans.

"It is essential that we have a strong voice in Congress to ensure Alaska is not overlooked as new veterans programs are developed," said Senator Stevens. "I will continue to be that strong voice for Alaskan veterans. Veterans don't need more campaign promises. They need a representative with experience, who has worn the uniform and who has, time and time again, walked the walk."

Senator Stevens has already introduced a bipartisan resolution calling on the federal government to improve government contracting opportunities for service-disabled veterans and co-sponsored legislation to eliminate barriers these veterans face in obtaining such contracts.

"The federal government has not kept its promise to offer federal contracting opportunities to veteran-owned businesses," said Senator Stevens. "I worked to rally support from both Republicans and Democrats concerned about the issue, and am seeking a change to federal law that would remove procedural hurdles which prevent service-disabled veterans from receiving government contracts."

Local veterans called on Alaskans to support Senator Stevens because he is the only Senate candidate who can and will ensure that Alaska's veterans have the care and benefits that they have earned.

"There is no one in the Congress today that understands the needs of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Marines better than Senator Ted Stevens," said retired General Joe Ralston. "Whether it is future combat systems for the Army or Littoral Combat Ships for the Navy or airplanes like the F-22 or F-35 for the Air Force and Marine Corps, nobody understands their needs and gives us better support. That's true for our veterans and veterans programs. So it gives me great pleasure to stand here with the man who has stood with our veterans for all these many years and to support him."

Supporters, who have started a "Veterans of Stevens" organization, gathered at the Anchorage Veteran's Memorial on the Delaney Park Strip to join Senator Stevens during today's announcement. Veterans can become part of this group by visiting:

"In my dealing with Senator Stevens, he has always shown an unmatched courtesy and respect to me and my fellow veterans, something I have not seen with other politicians," said service disabled veteran Karl LeRay. "I am proud to stand here and support Senator Stevens, and I look forward to six more good years of his service."

Senator Stevens' other recent accomplishments on veterans issues impacting Alaska include:

ensuring that the new state-of-the-art Basset Army Community Hospital has beds set aside for veterans;

sponsoring Congress-approved legislation requiring the VA to study the problems challenging the Alaska veterans;

winning approval of legislation giving many remote rural veterans a $500 travel bonus to help defray the transportation costs they incur to use their GI Bill benefit;

supporting a change to the GI Bill legislation, allowing veterans to transfer their education benefit to their spouses and children;

helping to win approval for an expansion of a program that provides low interest mortgage loans to Alaska veterans; and

co-authoring an amendment to the economic stimulus package to ensure disabled veterans were able to receive refund checks;

See the attached document for more details on Senator Stevens' commitment to Alaska's veterans.

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