Our military service members and those who have faithfully served must receive the care they deserve.

Texans have a proud tradition of serving in the military of the United States. They put their lives on the line for us. If they become disabled, either physically or mentally, we have an obligation to do everything we can to help them. Far too many of our veterans are not getting the mental health care they need to transition back to civilian life.

PTSD is a particular problem. The National Coalition for the Homeless reports that the are between 130,000 to 200,000 homeless veterans on any given night, representing between 1/5 to 1/4 of all homeless people. When a service member is suffering from PTSD, it puts a strain on their family. Providing in-home caregiver support would greatly ease this stress. The VA reports that after adjusting for age and gender, the suicide risk for veterans is 22% higher than for non-veterans. On average, we lose 20 veterans a day to suicide. Of that 20, 14 were not under VA care. We simply must do

The VA must have the funding and support to provide the care our veterans need. There are over 30,000 positions at the VA that the Trump Administration has left unfilled. While using civilian facilities to resolve bottlenecks in care may be necessary at times, most civilian clinics are not equipped to give our vets the help they need, especially mental health care. The recently enacted VA Mission Act is a good plan, but it should not be used as a way to privatize the VA. Many fear that the use of the private sector will drain much needed resources from the VA.

The Texas Veterans Commission was set up to help Texas veterans navigate what can be a very complicated VA system. Making sure it is fully funded is a vital necessity. The Hazlewood Act provides qualified veterans, spouses, and dependent children with an education benefit of up to 150 hours of tuition exemption at public institutions of higher education in Texas. This act represents a promise we have made to those who enter the military from Texas and it should be fully funded. It should not be watered down just to save money. A promise is a promise. Our active duty military, guard members, and reservists sacrifice greatly for us. We need to make sure we provide them and their families with all the help they need.

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