Strengthening our commitment to our veterans

July 3, 2011

OPINION By CONGRESSWOMAN LOIS CAPPS

This weekend we celebrate our country’s 235rd birthday, and the freedoms and values upon which it was built. And, while the 4th of July is a great time for family and parades, picnics and flag ceremonies, it’s also a time to take stock of our American values.

For example, today is an opportunity for Americans to come together and remember those who in uniform who sacrifice daily on behalf of our country in the name of freedom and democracy. The debt we owe them is immeasurable. Their sacrifices and those of their families are freedom’s foundation.  Without the brave efforts of all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – and their families – our country would not live so freely.

On this Independence Day, let us start by honoring the memory of the nearly 6,000 Americans who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and the nearly 50,000 who have been wounded in those conflicts. And as we remember those patriotic sacrifices, we must renew our commitment to the nation’s more than 2 million troops and reservists, their families, and 23 million veterans, including over 40,000 here in the 23rd Congressional District.

That’s why I was proud when Congress in 2007 enacted the largest increase in veterans’ funding in the 77-year history of the Veterans Administration. It’s also why I’ve promoted policies in Congress to modernize and streamline health care systems within the VA, like reducing wait times for veterans with pending health claims.

Congress also improved and expanded educational opportunities for veterans by enacting the Post-9/11 GI Bill – the most extensive educational assistance program authorized since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944. The new GI Bill, which marks its third anniversary this week, allows eligible veterans who served at least 90 days active duty since September 11, 2001, to receive an in-state, undergraduate education at a public institution at no cost.

This law is already helping many of our neighbors on the Central and South Coasts. For example, a veteran from Santa Maria recently expressed to me how valuable the Post 9/11 GI Bill was for him and his future. He wrote that he had assumed his nearly seven years of experience as an officer in the Air Force would help him to find a job.

Sadly, that was not the case.  So he used the opportunity to study Public Policy at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. And, as a result, he found a job working for a high technology firm that supports operations at Vandenberg Air Force Base. He told me the Post 9/11 GI Bill gives veterans an opening “to get valuable education or training and compete in this global job market.”

But there is more that we can and must do. We have to enact the Hiring for Heroes Act – which takes major steps to help our women and men in uniform obtain good jobs when they come home. With nearly one-in-four young veterans unemployed, this critical legislation would strengthen much needed training programs for separating service members. And it would encourage businesses and government contractors to hire the brave men and women who have developed valuable skills and professionalism while in the armed forces.

The bill is strongly supported by a broad array of veterans’ organizations, including the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, because they know it would smooth the transition for our returning troops and put them on the path to success.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be pushing for a vote on this vital legislation. I’ll also continue my work to provide our troops and veterans the benefits they have earned and resources they need, including helping those experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and reducing the number of suicides among veterans. And, I’ll keep pushing for more tax incentives for companies that hire veterans and for assistance to veteran-owned businesses on the Central and South Coasts.

On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. On this Independence Day, let it be our pledge that we leave no veteran behind. This day and every day, let us honor their service with actions that fulfill our commitment to our troops, our veterans, and their families.







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51 Comments

  1. Typoqueen says:

    Don’t pay any attention to these righties. If you cured cancer and managed to create peace on earth they would hate you simply because you are a Dem. You rock Lois! You are one of the few non-corrupted politicians (from either party) and I appreciate that as well as your hard work.

    (-11) 27 Total Votes - 8 up - 19 down
    • r0y says:

      I don’t think it is because she is a democrat, I think it has to do with integrity and honesty – two items that would be much stronger if she was not a voting robot. Look, I do not like fiscal liberals, but I do like social liberals, something that is not easy to do (no one ever runs as one); however, when an elected representative votes the party line 100% of the time, is only a member (not head) of ONE committee and only sponsored (not authored) an extreme minimal amount of legislation, all in 12 years (breaking the one-term pledge), then her integrity about being representative of us (her constituents) comes into question.

      When 19 of the top 20 donors are all unions, I have to wonder who’s needs she is catering to. I mean, lobbyists don’t even bother trying to sway her, she is so solid a party-line voter. That can be good or bad.

      (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
      • Typoqueen says:

        Perhaps but all of what you say runs both ways. At least unions are the people, the people that are in unions vote for the officers in those unions, they vote in that union as a democratic process and most of those union members are just regular middle class people. If you look at the repub side of this issue you will find that most of their donors are big corps and they don’t represent anyone but the wealthy, they simply serve themselves.
        I’m sure that if you look at the voting records of anyone on the right that they vote on average even more in step with their party than the left does. I see much more a pack mentality on the right.

        I feel that Lois is honest and that she does have integrity and I don’t usually say that about most politicians even those on the left. I have disagreed with her on occasion, I’ve even talked with her about my disagreements and each time that I’ve spoken with her I have felt that she was being genuine and she didn’t try to appease me just to be agreeable as so many other politicans do. BTW, unlike what someone else in this thread said I feel that she makes herself very available. I’ve spoken with her on 3 occasions.

        (-5) 7 Total Votes - 1 up - 6 down
      • WiseGuy says:

        rOy, you seem to be advocating for MORE LAWS. Why? You want a representative who creates MORE laws? Why?

        By the way, Capps showed her wisdom and moral and fiscal responsibility when she campaigned AGAINST going to war against Iraq, contrary to many member of her party.

        Capps has run for re-election time after time because her constituents WANT her to. The MAJORITY OF VOTERS in her district wanted her to run for re-election. She was called, and she has serrved, admirably. What a blessing!

        Thank you Lois Capps!

        (-3) 5 Total Votes - 1 up - 4 down
  2. danika says:

    Lois need to do what’s best for her country and step down. She is a waste of energy with a high paycheck. Your country will thank you for it…and so will many vets, Lois.

    (10) 30 Total Votes - 20 up - 10 down
  3. whatisup says:

    Now that Congresswomen Capps’ District is being redrawn to include all of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo County, instead of just the coastline of both; and part of inland Ventura County in replace of the Ventura coastline, it will be interesting to see her voting pattern between now and the next election. Her vote record compared to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is fact. Will her very high percentage of voting with Congresswomen Pelosi continue or will it change in preparation for the next election?

    (8) 18 Total Votes - 13 up - 5 down
    • r0y says:

      It is quite possible she will not be re-elected with the redrawing. Gerrymandering usually exists to keep people in power. I will be curious how the next election goes with a reasonably fair district drawn.

      (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  4. Paso_Guy says:

    This veteran looks foward to finally getting to vote against you Lois. Make that a no vote, Maldonado is not the answer either. Already I miss McCarthy and the redistricting is not even finalized.

    (9) 23 Total Votes - 16 up - 7 down
    • WiseGuy says:

      And what kind of “veteran” are you? Have you needed any veteran’s issue assistance and taken that issue to Capps?

      Just because you might be a “veteran” does not mean you automatically appreciate how much Lois Capps has done for our local war veterans. All of the veterans I know who have dealt with Lois Capps on particular veteran’s related issues continue to sing praises for Congresswoman Lois Capps.

      Lois Capps is a rare and precious politician with a character and ethics that deserve to be applauded across this nation and regarded as a role model for politicians everywhere.

      Lois Capps is a GREAT representative for the Central Coast. More power to her!

      (-7) 15 Total Votes - 4 up - 11 down
      • Paso_Guy says:

        I’m the kind of veteran that served from 1968-72. Yes, I used the GI bill for college and was thankful for that. I can’t say that I know any veterans that speak hoighly of Capps. On the contrary, most point out that she said “one term” and he she still sits.

        (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
        • slomike says:

          I’m a veteran who speaks highly of her. McCarthy is just a mouthpiece and a head of hair for moneyed interests.

          (-5) 11 Total Votes - 3 up - 8 down
          • r0y says:

            Sorry to break it to you, slomike, but they are all mouthpieces for moneyed interests. Just because a politician may choose a “safe bet” group to “fight for” (i.e. vote yes to spend other people’s money on) does not make her any better than the others.

            Politics, sadly, is all about popularity, not anything else. Neither side is worth a squat, and getting us to play good little “left” and “right” while they sing all the way to the bank with our grandchildren’s futures is not anything to speak highly of.

            (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
  5. Spirit Filled says:

    You’d think there was an election tomorrow. She is being almost heroic. Oh thank you so much Mrs. Capps. I know she wants to do good. I haven’t seen much of it though. I guess I should keep up on her record better. Blessings to you all.

    (1) 17 Total Votes - 9 up - 8 down
    • r0y says:

      I would be surprised if she actually penned any of this. This is the type of op-ed that staff does and the member signs. It happens all the time, all politicians.

      (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down
  6. Spork says:

    Comments containing re posted material and personal attacks have been removed. Several users have been added to the moderation queue.
    Mr Moderator has taken a few days off and I am much less tolerant of anonymous commenters attacking authors and other commenters.

    Commenting accounts can be converted to your real name for no charge, just let us know.

    (6) 14 Total Votes - 10 up - 4 down
  7. WiseGuy says:

    Thank you again, Ms Capps. MIlitary veterans in need of medical care who have had problems dealing with the Veteran’s Administration, and who have contacted Ms Capps for help, KNOW how very much she cares about their needs and KNOW she has continually and heroically worked to help them dealing with the bureaucracy.

    Most of the good work Capps does does not make headlines. Lois Capps is a hard worker who has diligently served her constituency in the face of scurrilous personal attacks by people who, truly, do not know what they are talking about.

    Capps, by the way, was one of the heroic few in Congress who campaigned AGAINST the U.S. attacking Iraq and all the devastation it lead to there and right here at home.

    Lois Capps is an honest, hardworking and scandal-free member of Congress. By every rational standard of measurement, she has been doing a very good job while meeting the expectations of those who elected her.

    (-5) 23 Total Votes - 9 up - 14 down
    • whatisup says:

      However, her newly redrawn Congressional District will have very large numbers of constituents that her current voting record does not meet the expectations of. What is she to do?

      (10) 14 Total Votes - 12 up - 2 down
      • WiseGuy says:

        She should do what is morally correct and of service to her district as she sees fit. Naturally. And if the voters once again elect her, she should continue that fine course she has followed so well.

        (-7) 13 Total Votes - 3 up - 10 down
  8. mkaney says:

    What do you mean? She’s done plenty, plenty of bad. She is a total hypocrite, doing nothing but voting her party line on virtually everything.,… she also has no problem continuing to authorize wars which make victims out of our troops.

    Ms. Capps…. I could not possibly convey how I feel about you without using more derogatory languge.

    (6) 32 Total Votes - 19 up - 13 down
    • WiseGuy says:

      What has she done that is “bad” in your opinion? (She campaigned AGAINST going to war against Irag, by the way.)

      (-4) 4 Total Votes - 0 up - 4 down
  9. The Gimlet Eye says:

    The specialist if “fluff” strikes again. You hypocrite. What have you done for your country? Not a damn thing! You are the biggest DO NOTHING in Congress. That’s saying something!

    (3) 29 Total Votes - 16 up - 13 down
    • r0y says:

      Ah, but is it a bad thing for congress to do nothing? Usually it is when they do something that we really feel the hurt.

      (6) 6 Total Votes - 6 up - 0 down
      • The Gimlet Eye says:

        Good point, there rOy. Perhaps the opposit tack is the right direction. In any case, Lois Capps is another big-government cheerleader and profligate spender leading us to financial disaster, with a big, beautiful smile on her face all the way! Sickening!

        (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
        • Ugluk says:

          Gimlet, that manic cheek- splitting rictus brings to mind either the Joker or Jack Nicholson in “The Shining”. It’s terrifying!

          (-3) 3 Total Votes - 0 up - 3 down

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