Our region is proud to be the home of more veterans than any other in Connecticut. Joe has fought tirelessly to ensure that all those who have worn our nation’s uniform have the support, care, benefits, and recognition they deserve. From the day-to-day work of helping veterans cut through the red tape that too often gets in the way of their earned benefits to working with Republicans and Democrats to pass new legislation to fulfill our promise to our veterans, Joe has always stood by eastern Connecticut’s veterans.
Learn more about Joe’s work:
Made a long-sought plan to expand veterans clinics a reality. After hearing from veterans across the region about difficulty getting care and support from the small New London veterans clinic, Joe pushed VA officials to find a bigger and more suitable space. As a result, a new site was secured and every step of the way, Joe was there working with the VA and contractors to keep the project moving. Today, the new clinic has nearly tripled in size with new services and facilities to meet the needs of eastern Connecticut’s veterans.
Passed and protected the new GI Bill. The original GI Bill helped build the nation’s middle class following World War II, and Joe worked to make sure that our newest veterans would see the same. With the post-9/11 GI Bill, those who have served since 9/11 have been able to access powerful new support for post-service education for them and their dependents. And when a proposal in the Trump Administration threatened to cut off education support for the children of military servicemembers, Joe worked with Republicans and Democrats to block this misguided plan.
Modernized the Troops to Teachers program. Joe worked with Republicans to pass the Troops to Teachers program, which helps veterans transition into rewarding careers as teachers. And when President Biden’s budget threatened to shut down the program last year, Joe joined Republicans and Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee in blocking the plan in the annual defense policy bill.
Supporting veterans exposed to toxic substances. Whether it was exposure to Agent Orange in the Vietnam War or burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, for too long veterans have suffered illnesses due to this exposure without care from the VA. That’s why Joe has worked tirelessly to ensure presumptive recognition for illnesses resulting from Agent Orange exposure and passed a new law to extend this coverage to “Blue Water” Navy veterans who served in the waters around Vietnam. And this year, he pushed for and passed a new law, the PACT Act, which ensures that veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan get the same care for the illnesses caused by toxic burn pits.
Honoring the legacy of the US Coast Guard. The history of the Coast Guard dates back to the earliest days of our nation – with close ties to our region. Yet for too long the Coast Guard, and all those who have served in it, have been left as the only military service without a national museum to highlight its history and achievements. When Joe took office, plans for a new museum in New London were stalled and handcuffed by restrictions on federal funding that kept this project from moving forward. Joe made it a priority to give the Coast Guard the museum it deserved, and through his determination passed legislation to scale back that policy, unlocking critical support for exhibits and artifact preservation. This year alone, he secured $50 million to support these efforts.