Another top priority for me during my time in Congress is supporting our nation’s veterans to ensure they receive the benefits and healthcare they have earned and deserved. From day one, I have had combat veterans on my team in Arkansas to ensure that my work on behalf of Arkansas’s veterans is being done by another service member who has been in their shoes. I am proud to have four veterans on my team – including two currently serving with the Arkansas National Guard – and during my six years have proudly employed seven veterans, including two female veterans.

I have the largest veterans casework team in Arkansas, and our work on behalf of Arkansas’s veterans is second-to-none. My veterans team and I have closed more than two thousand cases for central Arkansas veterans and recovered over $20 million -- $5 million 2019 alone -- in back pay and earned benefits for Arkansas’s veterans from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Further, we have been able to obtain nearly 150 lost or missing military medals back service members and families, including four Silver Stars for a helicopter crew that had risked their life to rescue the crew of a downed C-130 during the Vietnam War.

I also was able to obtain for the family of Pvt. Leroy Johnston medals deserved but denied dating back to World War I. Because of racial inequities, Pvt. Johnston’s military records were doctored and he was not awarded the medals he had earned. After this success, I introduced a bill to require a review of the records of African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, Jewish American, and Native American war veterans who appeared to have been denied recognition due to discrimination. The World War I Valor Medals Review Act – now law – will have a tremendous impact on the lives of the descendants of service member wrongly denied their due recognition.

I also have supported numerous bills, including the VA Accountability Act and the VA MISSION Act, to improve care for veterans, provide the VA Secretary with sweeping new authority to fire corrupt or incompetent employees for cause, recoup bonuses, and hold employees accountable for their actions. We have also worked to enact into law important policies that reform construction project management at the VA and funding that will help to improve the appeals process for VA claims, offer more education opportunities for veterans, and address the backlog of disability claims for our nation’s heroes. Working with and for Arkansas’s veterans has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my work serving you in the People’s House.

Also, it has been an honor to vote for bills – now laws – long-fought for by our veterans community including fixing the Widow’s Tax, to ensure that the widows of veterans who died from service connected conditions do not have their survivor benefits taxed, and extending benefits to additional Blue Water Vietnam Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during their service in Vietnam.