Upholding Our Sacred Commitment to Our Veterans and Military Families

Congressman Gerry Connolly
2014-11-11 10:10:40
Congressman Gerry E. Connolly - Representing the 11th District of Virginia � Dear Neighbor, Duty. Honor. Sacrifice. These are the principles brave American warriors and their families have practiced on behalf of our citizenry since the founding of our great nation. On this Veterans Day, let us not forget we remain forever in the debt of our dedicated men and women in uniform and the families that sacrifice to support them.� Let us also not forget that it is our responsibility to assist them when they are in need. Virginia is home to nearly 850,000 veterans. We are the only state whose veteran population has increased by more than 5 percent over the last 15 years. You would be hard pressed to find a Virginian who does not have a veteran in their family, neighborhood, or workplace. I am asking you to join me in observing this Veterans Day by remaining vigilant and identifying veterans in need. If you are not sure how you can help them find the assistance they require, please do not hesitate to contact my district office. My district office has helped many veterans obtain Post 9-11 GI Bill benefits, assisted bereaved families in cutting through red tape to schedule burials of fallen service members at Arlington Cemetery, resolved errors with Defense Finance and Accounting Services, resolved many VA claims, and secured medals and honors that veterans rightfully earned but never received. The combat-disabled veterans employed in my office specifically to handle veterans and military family issues bring experience and understanding to their mission, and they have had great success resolving many complicated matters impacting their fellow veterans. In just 6 years, my district office has assisted more than 1,000 veterans and active duty service members and helped recoup more than $2 million in benefits earned. If you know someone who would benefit from our assistance, please encourage them to contact my district offices: *Fairfax District Office 4115 Annandale Road, Suite 103 Annandale, VA 22003 703-256-3071 Prince William County Office 4308 Ridgewood Center Drive Woodbridge, VA 22192 703-670-4989* � Beyond helping individuals, our level of interaction with veterans and the issues they face helps me identify trends in veterans care and informs my advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. For example, I learned that there was a significant backlog at the VA, not from government reports, but from the complaints my office heard directly from Northern Virginia veterans. That is why I wrote the House Appropriations Committee requesting specific language addressing VA disability cases older than 200 days. That kind of wait is unacceptable for our veterans who may be waiting for vital support services that mean the difference between life and death. Since March 2013, the VA backlog has been reduced by 60 percent, but I will not be satisfied until it is eliminated. When the system fails our veterans and a resolution is beyond the reach of a single Member of Congress, we must make a concerted effort to do right by our active duty and retired service members. Failures like the ones we witnessed at the VA Hospital in Phoenix are unacceptable. Fortunately, Congress responded in a bipartisan fashion and passed the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, and I want to share some of the progress that has been made. During the last four months, 1.2 million additional VA medical appointments were completed than in the same time period last year. During this time, the VA made 1.1 million authorizations for private sector care, a 46.6 percent increase over last year. Average wait times decreased by 18 percent, and 98 percent of appointments were completed within 30 days of the date preferred by the veteran or the date deemed medically necessary by the physician. The necessary improvements at the VA are a work in progress, and I will continue to monitor that progress until I am satisfied that our nation is upholding its commitment to our veterans and their families. One of the first things I did as your Congressman was to travel to Afghanistan and Iraq to visit with our troops and witness firsthand their service, dedication and sacrifice on behalf of our nation. While in Congress, I have introduced veterans-specific legislation to address Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, expand the implementation of Veterans Treatment Courts, increase the availability of training services to returning soldiers, and making it easier for families when a service member is abroad. I take great pride in representing these brave men and women, as well as their families, and believe there is no greater responsibility in Congress than to make sure those who put on the uniform are taken care of, both during active duty service and after discharge. On this Veterans Day, when you are done thanking a veteran for their service, please be mindful of how else we might demonstrate our appreciation. � Sincerely, [image = connolly.congressnewsletter.net/images/user_images/Connollysig.jpg] Gerald E. Connolly Member of Congress 11th District of Virginia
November 11, 2014

 

Dear Neighbor,

Duty. Honor. Sacrifice. These are the principles brave American warriors and their families have practiced on behalf of our citizenry since the founding of our great nation.

On this Veterans Day, let us not forget we remain forever in the debt of our dedicated men and women in uniform and the families that sacrifice to support them.  Let us also not forget that it is our responsibility to assist them when they are in need.

Virginia is home to nearly 850,000 veterans. We are the only state whose veteran population has increased by more than 5 percent over the last 15 years. You would be hard pressed to find a Virginian who does not have a veteran in their family, neighborhood, or workplace.

I am asking you to join me in observing this Veterans Day by remaining vigilant and identifying veterans in need. If you are not sure how you can help them find the assistance they require, please do not hesitate to contact my district office.

My district office has helped many veterans obtain Post 9-11 GI Bill benefits, assisted bereaved families in cutting through red tape to schedule burials of fallen service members at Arlington Cemetery, resolved errors with Defense Finance and Accounting Services, resolved many VA claims, and secured medals and honors that veterans rightfully earned but never received.

The combat-disabled veterans employed in my office specifically to handle veterans and military family issues bring experience and understanding to their mission, and they have had great success resolving many complicated matters impacting their fellow veterans. In just 6 years, my district office has assisted more than 1,000 veterans and active duty service members and helped recoup more than $2 million in benefits earned.

If you know someone who would benefit from our assistance, please encourage them to contact my district offices:

Fairfax District Office
4115 Annandale Road, Suite 103
Annandale, VA 22003
703-256-3071

Prince William County Office
4308 Ridgewood Center Drive
Woodbridge, VA 22192
703-670-4989


 
Beyond helping individuals, our level of interaction with veterans and the issues they face helps me identify trends in veterans care and informs my advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. For example, I learned that there was a significant backlog at the VA, not from government reports, but from the complaints my office heard directly from Northern Virginia veterans. That is why I wrote the House Appropriations Committee requesting specific language addressing VA disability cases older than 200 days. That kind of wait is unacceptable for our veterans who may be waiting for vital support services that mean the difference between life and death. Since March 2013, the VA backlog has been reduced by 60 percent, but I will not be satisfied until it is eliminated.

When the system fails our veterans and a resolution is beyond the reach of a single Member of Congress, we must make a concerted effort to do right by our active duty and retired service members. Failures like the ones we witnessed at the VA Hospital in Phoenix are unacceptable. Fortunately, Congress responded in a bipartisan fashion and passed the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act, and I want to share some of the progress that has been made.

During the last four months, 1.2 million additional VA medical appointments were completed than in the same time period last year. During this time, the VA made 1.1 million authorizations for private sector care, a 46.6 percent increase over last year. Average wait times decreased by 18 percent, and 98 percent of appointments were completed within 30 days of the date preferred by the veteran or the date deemed medically necessary by the physician. The necessary improvements at the VA are a work in progress, and I will continue to monitor that progress until I am satisfied that our nation is upholding its commitment to our veterans and their families.

One of the first things I did as your Congressman was to travel to Afghanistan and Iraq to visit with our troops and witness firsthand their service, dedication and sacrifice on behalf of our nation. While in Congress, I have introduced veterans-specific legislation to address Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, expand the implementation of Veterans Treatment Courts, increase the availability of training services to returning soldiers, and making it easier for families when a service member is abroad. I take great pride in representing these brave men and women, as well as their families, and believe there is no greater responsibility in Congress than to make sure those who put on the uniform are taken care of, both during active duty service and after discharge.

On this Veterans Day, when you are done thanking a veteran for their service, please be mindful of how else we might demonstrate our appreciation.
 

Sincerely,


Gerald E. Connolly
Member of Congress
11th District of Virginia

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Washington, DC Office
424 Cannon HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-1492
Fax: (202) 225-3071
Annandale Office
4115 Annandale Road, Ste. 103
Annandale, VA 22003
Phone: (703) 256-3071
Fax: (703) 354-1284
Prince William Office
4308 Ridgewood Center Dr.
Woodbridge, VA 22192
Phone: (703) 670-4989
Fax: (703) 670-6042