On April the 28th I flew into Washington D.C. The last time I was there I was at a B.O.S.S. Conference in 2006 when I was still in the military. This time I was there with Concerned Veterans for America. This time I came as a Veteran trying to help protect the rights that I fought for and was still fighting for in 2006.
I joined the fight with the CVA for two reasons. First, I felt a deeper call to help my fellow Veterans and help combat the fight they are experiencing and Secondly to help be a voice for Veterans around the world. The first has been a fight and struggle and will continue to be until all veterans have the support from our lawmakers to make a difference and fight for what Veterans Deserve. The second has been a fun ride and I know it will only be more fun. A good friend of mine Dan Caldwell is a driving force for the voice of Veterans and has been helping that cause since the beginning.
While in D.C. the Arizona Concerned Veterans met with many of the lawmakers in Arizona and helped them understand many of the Bills and concerns that Concerned Veterans for America are trying to push through. One of those is the Veterans Independence Act. This bill will help reform the VA Health system and make it into a 501c and will push the VA to compete with the Civilian Health Care System and actually give Veterans a choice of Health Care. Many think its a voucher system, but its not. It turns the VA back into what it was originally designed to be. A Health Care Organization that’s purpose is to take care of Combat Disabled Veterans or Veterans with Disabilities that were incurred during service. Many fear this change because many Veterans will lose their VA health care benefit through the VA, but our reform will allow all Veterans to enter into the VA health care system, but will have premiums and co-pays just like any other Health Care system. The problem originated in the early 90’s when the VA began opening its doors to any Veteran because the decrease of Veterans using the system began to decline. Now you have every Veteran and their families using the VA healthcare system and it is now over run and the VA can’t handle the surge from the Gulf War, Iraq War, and Afghan War. Now its time to put the VA back to the way it was, take care of our Combat Injured Vets and begin the healing process.
It is estimated that the VA will have 8 million less Veterans by 2030 and that will be the time that the VA will begin running into the same problems as they did in the 90’s. We need to fix and build a system that works for our Veterans and not against them and allows them to heal correctly when they return from combat or leave military service.
The next Bill is the VA accountability Act. This Bill will reintroduce the last accountability act, but this one will give the Secretary full access to fire any employee that works for the VA. Also it covers any whistleblower from being fired or coming forward. This will allow the Secretary to fire those employees that fail to meeting the guidelines and fail to perform. There will still be an appeals status, but instead of lasting months, up to a year, it will be 30 days. This putting someone on administrative leave for a year with full pay before being fired is a waste of Federal funds and a waste of Veterans time.
These are just two of the main bills that CVA are trying to have passed through the House and Senate. We are also trying to pass DOD bills to stop the over spending of the DOD and stop the Pentagon for wasting more money on projects that lead to no where.
During my visit I had the pleasure of meeting Krysten Sinema, Matt Salmon, David Schweikert, Jeff Flake, and Senator McCain. It was an amazing time meeting with these lawmakers and actually having them listen to what we had to say and why we wanted to say it. It was also amazing to watch both sides talk about the same issues and come together at a press conference on April 30th and back these Bills. As I said to Krysten Sinema, she renewed my faith in politics, because she showed compassion and drive to help pass these Bills to fight for our Veterans and because she was the only Democrat that backed the Bill first. Events like these help Americans know that we have a direct link to our lawmakers and that we do have a voice whether we are Veterans or just regular citizens.
My time in DC, as short as it was, was a very big impact. It opened my eyes to a different perception of government and how they operate. Showed me that many of them do care and many of them do put the time in to make a difference. For instance out of all the representatives from Arizona, Krysten Sinema’s DC office is opened the latest. Just a fun fact for you all.
While there I also got to visit the Washington Memorial, World War I and II Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial. The Washington and Lincoln Memorial were a great site to see and made me realize that to a different Generation these two men were larger than life. Seeing how they are memorialized in DC only reminds me of how small we really are in this world, but how much we can accomplish if are hearts our where they need to be and our dedication to those that came before us. So many men and woman have lost their lives for this country and I can guarantee you that if our founding fathers where here. None of what is going on in this country would be tolerated. All of the issues with are government and how are Veterans are being treated wouldn’t be tolerated. They stood for a higher purpose and as citizens of this nation we should strive to live for that higher purpose.
If your a Veteran and aren’t living for a higher purpose, and that purpose should be helping other Veterans, than you should take up arms and join an organization that is trying to make a difference. Veterans are 22.8 Million Strong in this country and with that many we should have a louder voice, but for some reason so many are laying low and not taking a stand. I call on all veterans to join an organization that is making a difference, attend Rally’s, attend Town Hall meetings. Show in force that Veterans are not going to be messed with anymore and that no Veteran will die under the VA’s watch. We need to come together as a community of Veterans to support one another as we did while we were in service. We need to build that band of brotherhood again and be there for each other once more while we go through this hard time. We also need to stop this Veteran Suicide that is killing us off 22 per day. Veteran owned businesses need to step up and higher veterans to give them a reason to live and a reason to fight, Veteran owned businesses need to also organize with Veteran Organizations and help drive this cause. We need to become a Family of Veterans again!. Join in the fight for our freedom and choice.
So as the title says….”Future Endeavors.” The reason is I don’t know what the future holds and everyone is entitled to their own future. We shouldn’t allow anyone in this world to shape our own future. We should be the masters of what we give back to the world. For 15 years I have worked with computers, I have focused so much on IT that I have fallen short of my true passion. Starting today I have changed my major in College. I am now working towards a Bachelors of Science in Military Studies. I decided to change my major to help me understand more about the political agendas in this country and to really understand what I am so passionate about. I know all there is to know about IT so I honestly don’t need a degree in it. I need the next degree to push me further in down this path I am heading on.
Again, if your not part of the bigger picture for Veterans you should be on board. Veterans have not only sacrificed so much for this country, but so many Veterans are apart of the backbone of this country that without them we would be in shambles.