U.S. House of Representatives
In 2014, these Representatives were at the front and center on veterans’ issues, or were dynamic veterans themselves. During challenging times at VA, and with more than 10 years in war, these members are on the leading edge of the policies that affect our nation’s service members and veterans.
Representative Tim Walz of Minnesota
U.S. Congressman Tim Walz is currently serving his fifth term representing Minnesota’s First Congressional District. Walz proudly serves the people of southern Minnesota on three committees in the United States House of Representatives: Agriculture, Armed Services, and Veterans’ Affairs.
Mr. Walz is the highest-ranking enlisted service member ever to serve in Congress. He enlisted in the Army National Guard at the young age of 17, and retired 24 years later as Command Sergeant Major. Before retiring, Walz served overseas with his battalion in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Walz is the highest ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress.
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Representative Jeff Miller of Florida
As Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Miller took VA leadership to task as news broke that the Phoenix VA Medical Center had been inappropriately reporting wait times for veteran’s medical appointments. Additionally, Miller played a key role in legislation aimed at ensuring that veterans receive timely healthcare, which included increased funding for VA clinical space, the hiring of physicians and healthcare employees, and the ability to utilize private healthcare in the event that VA is unable to provide services in a timely manner.
United States Representative Jeff Miller also serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He is a former Florida State Representative who attended the University of Florida. Naval Air Station Pensacola is located in his district. He was a strong supporter and proponent of the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill.
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Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii
An advocate for environmental policy, Tulsi was elected to the Hawai‘i State Legislature in 2002 when she was just 21 years old, becoming the youngest person ever elected in the state. A year later, she joined the Hawai‘i Army National Guard to serve Hawai‘i and our country. In 2004, Tulsi volunteered to deploy with her fellow soldiers, becoming the first state official to voluntarily step down from public office to serve in a war zone.
Tulsi served two tours of duty in the Middle East, and she continues her service in the Army National Guard as a Military Police Major. She is one of the first two female combat veterans to ever serve in the U.S. Congress, and also its first and only Hindu member.
Tulsi serves on the House Armed Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee, where she is a strong advocate for veterans, our service members, and making smart strategic decisions that best secure our nation.
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Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey
Rep Frelinghuysen is in his 11th term out of NJ and serves as the Chairman for the House Appropriations Committee for Defense. He served in Vietnam as a member of the 93rd Engineering Battalion stationed in the Mekong Delta.
Through his work as the HAC-D Chairman, he has become a well-respected voice on military and intelligence affairs. He has also worked to ease access for Veterans to VA facilities. Rep Frelinghuysen is a member of the American Legion and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
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The United States Senate
In 2015, these U.S. Senators were at the front and center on veterans’ issues, or were dynamic veterans themselves. During challenging times at VA, and with more than 10 years in war, these members are on the leading edge of the policies that affect our nation’s service members and veterans.
Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia
Johnny Isakson is a businessman who has built a respected record of public service to the state of Georgia. As a business leader, Johnny served as president of Northside Realty for 20 years, as it grew to become the largest independent residential real estate brokerage company in the Southeast and one of the largest in America.
As a public servant, Johnny served 17 years in the Georgia Legislature and two years as chairman of the Georgia Board of Education. Johnny then served three terms in the U.S. House and is now serving his second term in the U.S. Senate.
Johnny brings commonsense leadership to Congress through bipartisan efforts to address federal spending, reduce the debt, create jobs, and reform burdensome regulations. Johnny is the only Republican senator to chair two committees in the 114th Congress: the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics.
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Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island
As one of just eight Senators in U.S. history to graduate from West Point, Time magazine noted: “Reed is a serious, intellectually honest veteran and an expert on defense issues in the Senate,” and the New York Times describes him as “a quiet dealmaker respected by colleagues in both parties.”
Reed also serves as Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, where he has played a pivotal role in safeguarding our nation. He has always worked across the aisle to support our troops, and was instrumental in convincing Defense Secretary Robert Gates to continue serving in the Obama Administration and implement the plan to withdraw forces from Iraq.
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Senator John McCain of Arizona
Senator John McCain continues to offer his own brand of foreign policy and national security. With nearly 33 years of congressional experience in the House and Senate, and a few presidential runs under his belt, McCain continues to be a “go to” for the press on issues such as ISIS, Afghanistan, and other National Security focused issues. He holds the record for Meet the Press appearances for an individual in office.
McCain, a former U.S. Naval aviator who attained the rank of Captain, was shot down over Hanoi during the Vietnam War. He was a POW in the notorious Hanoi Hilton for five and a half years prior to his release. He is highly respected and is a recipient of the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, and the Navy Commendation Medal.
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Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut
Sworn in on January 5, 2011, Richard Blumenthal is serving his first term as a United States Senator from the State of Connecticut, where he is the ranking member on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
Senator Blumenthal served an unprecedented five terms as Connecticut’s Attorney General, fighting for people against large and powerful special interests. His aggressive law enforcement for consumer protection, environmental stewardship, labor rights, and personal privacy has helped reshape the role of state attorneys general nationwide, and resulted in the recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars for Connecticut taxpayers and consumers each year.
From 1970 to 1976 he served in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, and was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant.
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Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa
Senator Ernst has dedicated her life to Iowa and her country, having served in the military for over 23 years and now in the United States Senate.
Joni received her undergraduate degree from Iowa State University where she joined the university’s ROTC program. After graduating, Joni joined the U.S. Army Reserves. In 2003, Joni served as a company commander in Kuwait and Iraq, leading 150 Iowa Army National Guardsmen during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Joni retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard after 23 years of military service.
In November 2014, Joni was elected as the first woman to serve in federal elected office from the State of Iowa and also became the first female combat veteran elected to serve in the United States Senate.
In Washington, Joni serves on four Senate committees of major importance to Iowans: Armed Services; Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
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