U.S. Senate Candidate Roxanne Conlin outlined her plan to help veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as those who fought in previous wars.
"As we stand here, over 3,000 Iowa men and women have been deployed to Afghanistan this year, or are in training to be deployed. For some, this will be the second or even third deployment. It is being called the largest deployment of Iowans since World War Two," said Conlin.
"Iowans are rightly proud of our troops and hope and pray that they all return home safely. The war in Afghanistan has now become our longest lasting war and it has not been easy for our troops or for their families."
"There really is no way for us to repay these brave men and women who have put their lives on the line for their country. The least we can do is to provide as much help as possible for their families while they are gone and to help our troops when they return home."
Number One - No Veteran who wants a job should be jobless.
Our troops often have trouble finding a job in this tough economy.
* Make sure companies do not discriminate against veterans.
* Take action against employers who refuse to rehire service members when they return from deployment, despite federal laws aimed at protecting jobs for these workers.
* Create job placement programs for veterans, since veterans have a higher rate of unemployment than the general population.
* Funding for the GI bill should increase to reflect the increasing cost of college educations.
* Expand VA loan programs so that veterans have the opportunity to open a small business.
Number Two - No veteran should be homeless.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that over 113,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Another 1.5 million veterans are considered at risk for homelessness.
* Homeless veterans are predominately male, single, and many suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They have served in World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and in other conflicts.
* Allocate additional housing funds to provide housing for veterans who have no support or family system to help them. These residences must be alcohol and drug free and offer needed services.
Number Three - Veterans should have better mental health and health services
New data shows that an average of 950 suicide attempts is made each month among veterans who are receiving some type of treatment from the VA. Seven percent are successful and 11 percent of those who do not succeed try again within nine months.
* Suicide attempts by veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are of concern. The number of suicides attempts by these veterans in fiscal year 2009 totaled 1621 by men and 247 by women. Ninety-four men and four women died.
* Treatment saves lives. Data does shows that the suicide rate is lower for veterans, age 18 to 29, who are receiving VA health services than those who are not.
* Increase funding for mental health services, especially residential, so that men and women struggling with the traumatic effects of war receive the help they need without delay.
* Reduce the backlog and cut wait times for health care services. More than 450,000 veterans are still waiting more than 30 days for their appointment.
* Support Congressman Boswell's bill, the Armed Forces Breast Cancer Research Act, requiring a study of the incidence rate of breast cancer in service members and veterans, focusing on those deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Number Four - Help for Veterans' Families
* Pay our troops a salary commensurate with the risks they take. It is inexcusable that Blackwater workers are paid $400 thousand per year, while some families of our troops are on food stamps.
* Place a moratorium on foreclosures while a family member is deployed and for one year after they return.
* Provide, when requested, free counseling services to families while the family is deployed as well as after he or she returns home.
* Provide funding to cover child care costs when needed.
* Protecting our servicemen and women from fees if a service member terminates a lease due to a deployment
* Service to their country should not count against our troops in child custody cases.
"When my father returned from World War Two, and when my brother Raymond returned from service during the Viet Nam era, though not in Viet Nam, they were greeted helped with college costs, buying a home and other services," noted Conlin. The men and women who serve today need that same support."
The Grassley Record
In the 2006 ranking of Senators by the million member Disabled American Veterans, Senator Grassley received only 40%, the third lowest score.
(Project Vote Smart 2010- http://www.votesmart.org/issue_rating_category.php?can_id=53293&type=category&category=66)