One of my greatest duties as the representative of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District is serving on behalf of our more than 65,000 Veterans—from Oxford to Aroostook Counties.
In one of my first actions in this new Congress, I am tremendously proud and excited to join the House Veterans Affairs Committee, or VA Committee. The VA Committee is the congressional body charged with all legislative matters pertaining to improving care and services for our Veterans, including congressional oversight of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Now, Maine Veterans have a direct seat at the table in Congress on some of the biggest issues facing them and their services at the VA. In this new role I can serve as an instrumental force on behalf of our heroes throughout Maine’s 2nd District.
In my first term in Congress, I made it a top priority to use the full weight of my office to help Veterans in Maine. I’m proud our office worked to secure critical health care programs and services, cleaned up inefficiencies at Veterans centers and VA facilities across the State, and provided quality constituent services for Veterans through our local offices in Bangor, Lewiston and Presque Isle.
I was very pleased to be a key part of securing continued access to care for Veterans living in and around Aroostook County by extending the services provided through the extremely popular Access Received Closer to Home (ARCH) program at Cary Medical Center in Caribou, which allows Veterans in the rural area to receive care much closer to home.
In addition, we also pushed hard to help ensure that the Lewiston Veterans’ Center is adequately staffed. In recent years, the facility has come under pressure to adequately serve our Veterans due constraints on personnel.
While we were able to solve some important problems for our Veterans, there is no doubt we have much more work to get done for our heroes in the next two years and beyond.
The character of our country is defined by how we treat our Veterans after their service. Our Nation owes them a debt of gratitude that starts with making sure they are given the support and care they were promised, have earned and deserve. I am thrilled to continue to work on their behalf and to now use my direct role on this committee to hold the VA accountable and to make sure our Nation fulfills our promises to them.