Not a day goes by in my District or Washington, D.C. offices without one of our constituent representatives speaking with a veteran who is dealing with a housing, health, job or compensation issue.
To all the veterans and their families, please know that it is an honor to serve you – you have served us so well – and now it’s our time to serve you. There’s not much in Congress we do that’s more important than serving our veterans.
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, every day I’m inspired to work on behalf of all our military personnel and veterans. Ensuring that quality services are being delivered to each of you is one of my greatest missions as a public servant.
I thank each of you for your service and can assure you that as long as I am in Congress, your needs will remain a priority for me and my staff.
Memorial Day is a solemn holiday and a great opportunity for us to make it clear that we appreciate the service and sacrifice of our military and their families.
It is a day to pause and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and to say a heartfelt thank you to those who are still with us.
I was pleased to join DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis, DeKalb County Veterans Affairs Advisory Board and U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major James Murrin – the keynote speaker – for an early Memorial Day celebration on Thursday.
I hope to join Memorial Day celebrations in Gwinnett and Rockdale counties on Monday as well. To all veterans and their families, your service is noble and in the best traditions of our nation. Putting service before self, you have made our country strong. You make us all proud.
NDAA: Last week, I offered several amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including:
► Raising awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) MORE
► “No” to the indefinite detention of Americans MORE
► “No” to tactical nukes on the Korean Peninsula MORE
► “Yes” to direct solar as a renewable energy source, and
► “Yes” to a report on whether nuclear weapons reductions pursuant to the New START Treaty are in our national security interests.
I’m also proud to report that I helped obtain $5 million in the NDAA to fund a plan that would increase diversity in U.S. military leadership, and that I secured an increase in funding for science research at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Institutions (MIs) by $10 million – an increase of more than 50 percent. For more, click HERE.
WOMEN VETERANS: The Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Heart Association are teaming up to raise awareness of heart disease and strokes among women veterans and service members, and wives of veterans and military members. For more, call the VA at 1-800-827-1000 or 1-888-MY-HEART (1-888-694-3278) or visit them online HERE.
TRAINING FOR TROOPS: U.S. Department of Labor is providing $12 million in grants to provide job training and skills development for veterans. Funds are being awarded to state and local workforce investment boards, local public agencies and nonprofit organizations, including faith-based and community organizations. More information on programs for veterans, click HERE. To apply for the grants, click HERE.
MUSEUMS FOR MILITARY: The National Endowment of the Arts is holding its third summer of the Blue Star Museums program, which offers free admission to all active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day at more than 1,600 museums across America. For more information and a map of participating museums, click HERE.
CLEAN-RUNNING BUSES: MARTA is receiving an $840,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration to retrofit 10 existing MARTA buses and make them more fuel efficient using the latest advancements in lithium ion battery technology.
VOTING RIGHTS: I was proud to stand with my House Democratic colleagues last week when we introduced the Voter Empowerment Act to protect and promote voting rights. Nothing is more fundamental in our democracy than the right to vote. We must reject any attempts to curtail citizens’ access to the ballot. It’s not right, it’s not fair and it’s un-American. For more, click HERE.
LORRAINE PARK & TRAILHEAD: Congratulations to Rockdale County and all District 4 residents on the grand opening of the Lorraine Park and Trailhead off GA-138. It was a pleasure joining Rockdale Chairman Richard Oden and other Rockdale dignitaries on Monday for the ribbon cutting. From left: Craig McCullough, Chair of the Rockdale County SPLOST Recreation Sub-Committee, Rockdale County Commissioner Oz Nesbitt, Dotti Bala, Chair of the Rockdale County Recreation Commission, Rockdale Chairman Oden, me and Rockdale County Commissioner JaNice Van Ness with some of her Peachtree Academy students.
MORE FORECLOSURE HELP: On June 1 & 2, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as part of President Obama’s Making Home Affordable Program, are partnering with the HOPE NOW Alliance and NeighborWorks America to bring together homeowners in financial distress for a face-to-face meeting with their mortgage lender and/or local housing counselor. For more on this free event, call 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) or click HERE.
VAWA: Earlier this month, I voted against the House Republicans’ version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which rolls back and weakens protections for all victims, including LGBT, immigrant and Native American women. Our nation’s laws should continue to strengthen protections for our most vulnerable citizens – not roll back those safeguards. For more, click HERE.
GLOBAL HEALTH: I was pleased to participate in the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) Atlanta Summit on Sustaining American Leadership in Global Health & Water this week. For more, click HERE.
EPA GRANTS: EPA Region 4 Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming announced today that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will award DeKalb County $900,000 to clean and redevelop brownfields, which will boost the local economy and create jobs while protecting human health. For more, click HERE.
As always, I appreciate your time and feedback. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to represent you in Congress. And again, please keep veterans and their families foremost in your mind this weekend as you and your family celebrate the Memorial Day weekend.
May 25, 2012
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