It’s time to rejuvenate our advocacy efforts

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Thanks to DAV members, the past year brought numerous victories for veterans, but now, it’s time to turn our focus to 2019.

Now that the 116th Congress has convened, new and returning lawmakers will be settling in and getting down to business. And with the DAV 2019 Mid-Winter Conference in Arlington, Va., just around the corner, it’s crucial that we reinvigorate our advocacy efforts on behalf of our nation’s disabled veterans and their families.

One of the most critical issues DAV will focus on this year is ensuring the proper implementation of the VA MISSION Act (Public Law 115-182), particularly the provisions that will strengthen the VA health care system and establish the new Veterans Community Care Program, both of which will affect the quality and timeliness of health care veterans will receive for decades to come. To maintain a strong and viable veterans health care system, we will also have to fight hard for sufficient funding to carry out all aspects of this comprehensive legislation, which could take up to a decade to accomplish.

Another priority is ensuring the recently authorized expansion of comprehensive caregiver benefits for seriously injured veterans of all eras is carried out. And we won’t stop fighting until these benefits are also extended to caregivers of veterans who became severely ill during their service, like Past National Commander Dave Riley, whose illness resulted in amputation of all four limbs while in the military.

We will continue our work to improve women veterans’ health services by working with lawmakers to enact legislation based on key recommendations from DAV’s 2018 report Women Veterans: The Journey Ahead. Finally, we plan to ramp up our efforts and work to get legislation passed that would acknowledge exposure to dangerous airborne toxins for ill veterans who served in areas that had burn pits and push for improved benefits for spouses and survivors of disabled veterans.

As you can see, we have a busy year ahead of us, and the strength of DAV’s grassroots advocacy will be essential to achieving our legislative goals. Make sure your voice is heard and join us February 24-27 at the 2019 DAV Mid-Winter Conference as we take our message to Capitol Hill.

To download a copy of Women Veterans: The Journey Ahead, visit dav.org/women-veterans.