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Kuster: It’s time we serve those who served us

Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H., right, participates in a mock swearing-in ceremony with Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, for the 113th Congress on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 in Washington.  The real swearing-in occurs on the House floor.  (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H., right, participates in a mock swearing-in ceremony with Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, for the 113th Congress on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 in Washington. The real swearing-in occurs on the House floor. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

I’m the daughter and daughter-in-law of World War II veterans.

My father, Malcolm McLane, flew 63 missions in his P-47 fighter plane before being shot down in the Battle of the Bulge on Christmas Eve in 1944. He spent the last six months of the war in a German prisoner-of-war camp.

My husband’s father, Bob Kuster, set up advance communications for the Army. He landed on the beaches of Normandy – while my father flew cover overhead – and his unit liberated the concentration camps at the end of the war.

Earlier this month, as I was appointed to the House Veterans Affairs Committee in the U.S. Congress, my thoughts turned to my father and father-in-law, and the generations of veterans who have sacrificed so much to protect our country and way of life.

As a nation, we have no higher responsibility than to honor their service and sacrifice – not just one day a year, but every day; not just with our words, but with our actions. As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, that’s exactly what I will do.

Our work starts with ensuring that all veterans have access to high-quality health care. The men and women of our armed forces put their lives on the line every day to defend our freedom. When they come home, we owe them and their families the peace of mind that comes from knowing they have access to medical care they can count on.

Before coming to Congress, I brought the private and public sectors together to make health care more accessible and affordable in New Hampshire.

I will use that experience to improve medical care for our veterans and make the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs more efficient, so that every taxpayer dollar in the VA’s budget advances a simple mission: supporting our veterans.

New Hampshire is the only state in the country without a full-service VA hospital. Right now, there are disabled, wounded and elderly veterans in our district who have to drive hours and cross state lines just to get their medical care. That’s wrong, and I will work with our state’s entire congressional delegation to change it.

In fact, the first bill I co-sponsored as a member of Congress was Rep. Carol Shea-Porter’s Veterans Health Equity Act, which would require the VA to provide New Hampshire veterans with the same level of in-state, full-service hospital care available in every other state. This legislation has won past support from Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, which is exactly the type of bipartisan collaboration we need more of in Congress.

Beyond improving medical care, we must also ensure that veterans transitioning to civilian life can get good jobs. Today, more than 2,000 New Hampshire veterans are out of work. We have to do better than that – and we can.

Here in New Hampshire, there are advanced manufacturers and other businesses looking to hire skilled workers, and there are highly-skilled veterans looking for jobs. We can reduce veteran unemployment by helping every returning hero get the education and training needed to compete in today’s job market, which will give our businesses the help they need to compete in the global economy.

As more veterans find good jobs, we can also put an end to veteran homelessness. On any given night, as many as 60,000 veterans are without a home in America. While veteran homelessness is on the decline, we shouldn’t be satisfied until that number gets to zero.

Addressing these challenges won’t be easy. It won’t happen overnight. But helping our veterans should never be a partisan issue. In New Hampshire, we look out for one another. We have each other’s backs.

And when it comes to caring for the veterans who put their lives on the line to keep us safe, we step up and do the right thing – regardless of politics. That’s the kind of state we are.

So let’s bring Republicans and Democrats together to give our veterans the health care they’ve earned. Let’s give our heroes the training they need to get well-paying jobs when they come home. Let’s put an end to veteran homelessness.

And as we do, let’s remember that it’s only because of generations of selfless veterans like my father and father-in-law that we’re able to live in a country that’s safe, prosperous and free.

So please, take a moment today to thank a veteran. And if you are a veteran in need of help, or if you know a veteran who requires assistance, please call my office in Concord at 226-1002, or my office in Nashua at 595-2006 so my staff and I can be of service.

(Democratic Rep. Ann McLane Kuster represents New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.)

Legacy Comments10

Just empty words that we have all heard before. Smoke and Mirrors. All we Veterans are in their eyes are a liability to them, but at the same time they need our votes to get re-elected to good high paying jobs, New Hampshire will never have a full service Veterans Hospital. And where did she get that number of 2000 Veterans out of work?the figure is much, much higher than that. So, please do not insult us Veterans anymore, we know full well the game that is played and we are only fodder for these high paid public servants who only say they care about us to get us duped into voting for them. All Veterans do not trust the Government and do not trust our elected public officals even more, We are just pawns cast into another war. No matter what they say or do, we will survive. We take care of each other, unless you have been there staring down the end of a barrell, with the cannons and rockets all pointed at you, you will never know, you will never know!Trust the Government? Just ask any Indian or Veteran!

I totally agree with you Dick. We were given many promisses for "doing our duty". The sad thing is, now we are considered baggage by our Government officials. Let them stand watch in 10-15% below 0 weather without proper gear because there was none available. Let then get little to no sleep for days on end in near flooding rains, just to name a couple of "regular routines" we go through. It's too bad we are now classified as 3rd class citizens by our own services. We got used ,abused, and spit out when no longer useful. And it is all smoke and mirrors.

My comment about changing subjects was in reference to many lefties not commenting on what is written but instead change he subject like Bruce did. He did not comment on what I posted. Instead he said so who deserves to be poor etc. never commented on the poverty level staying the same or the main point about making folks dependent. You obviously do not comment either on the written posts but instead accuse me of being a hypocrite. Both you and Bruce proved my point about changing the subject instead of commenting on the post. The way you change the subject is to name call. Get It!

A lot of folks would like to see Van gone. Not me, by the way. Libs do not want folks to disagree with them. When you do, they do the following. They never address anything you ask them. Instead they change the subject and hope you will bite. If you do bite, you are wasting your time. The goal is not to discuss what works and what does not. The goal is to get more funding for programs that do not work. So the discussion turns to name calling in the hope that you will be shut down and stop talking. Radicals never believe that there is another side to their beliefs. They have tunnel vision, so anybody that has a different point of view is a threat. Van is a huge threat. He points out what is wrong in their thinking and they cannot take it. Their guy won, yet they are not happy. Why is that?

Okay, I'll bite. While we should welcome a diverse range of opinion here, there is opinion supported by facts,,,and then there is opinion one finds on the likes of "Newsmax" that some take as gospel. One of Van's recent posts referred to Obama as a "dog-eater...Communist." and that was about the sum of his post. It received an endorsement from its'a, but I don't think it impressed many others. if you really think "he points out what is wrong in their thinking..." then I guess we're mostly reading different posts.

What in Van's statement about the President being a dog eater is false? The President in his book said he ate dog meat. No lie there. As far as the President being a communist, many believe he is because of his ideology. He makes Jimmy Carter look conservative.

Van has been known to also subscribe to the oft dispelled notion that Obama is a muslim, now he calls him a communist? WOW. I don't know how many times he spewed proven false facts as authentic. it's okay to disagree but stick to the facts, and oh by the way rabbit, arn't you calling the kettle black when complaining about changing subjects in a column? I seem to remember you attempting to do the same! Please try not to go down that road again.

Self Promotion. My bet is that Kuster will vote in lock step with Obama and will try to spend heavily on programs that promote government dependency. Kuster and Shaheen are phonies when it comes to Veteran issues. Kelly Ayotte is the real deal when it comes to supporting our Vets and men and women in harms way. HMMMMMM I wonder why Shaheen hasn't said a word about the loss of an American Ambassador and 2 former Navy Seals? It looks like the Monitor is already in campaign mode for 2014 they are already shoving failed and failing democrats down our throats,

Van, Didn't you promise a few weeks ago that you were leaving and would not grace us with any more of your nonsense and non sequiturs?

Perhaps Shaheen has said nothing because she has more class than that. Instead of looking to create a partisan scandal, maybe you'd better expend your keyboard energy wondering why the GOP dominated Congress refused to vote on the bill containing increased security money for our embassies that was proposed by the Dem controlled Senate.

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