Tom counts among his family seven veterans. Dozens of veterans populate the Outagamie County workforce while veterans are 7.2% of Wisconsin’s population. The cost of war goes far beyond beans and bullets. Our veterans have made great sacrifices for our nation and they deserve the best care we can provide. The Veterans Administration is the largest medical system in the United States. It is time to modernize the VA so it can deliver on the promises we made to our veterans while ensuring the system is never privatized into corporate hands.
While the overall number of veterans in our population is declining, we must address the real needs that they and their families face every day. Our recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have seen a significant increase in veterans with severe disabilities. Improved capabilities and life-saving measures on the battlefield means a greater chance of survival than ever before.
We need to improve long-term medical care, expand mental health care to treat PTSD, automate and integrate medical records, expand telehealth capabilities, recognize and treat other battlefield concerns like exposure to burn pits and other toxic chemicals.
We must continue to support essential programs like veterans education benefits and home loans, transition programs like Troops to Teachers, and burial benefits. Our veterans and their families made personal sacrifices to preserve our way of life. We owe them nothing less than the best care and support we can provide.
- Modernize the Veterans Administration to meet the needs of our veterans and their families while fighting encroaching privatization
- Expand mental healthcare treatment
- Recognize and treat all battlefield exposures to burn pits
- As County Executive helped create the Outagamie County Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) to serve Veterans who are currently in, or entering the criminal justice system, and are struggling with addiction and/or serious mental illness by providing treatment, accountability and mentoring. Each veteran is paired with a mentor from the same branch of service, who understands and supports the veteran court requirements, and assists the veteran in complying to make progress and achieve success. The focus of the Veteran’s Mentoring Program is to support the veterans through their readjustment to civilian life, to assist the veteran navigate through the court, treatment and VA systems, to act as a friend, mentor, advocate, and ally through this difficult period, and to ensure that no veteran is left behind.
- Led the successful fight in the state legislature to crack down on payday lenders who disproportionately target veterans.