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Begich Introduces Common Sense Bill to Improve Veterans Outreach

Proposes VA Partner with Regional Authorities and Commissions

Continuing to fight against a one-size-fits-all approach to federal policy, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today introduced a bill to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) outreach to veterans by partnering with the Denali Commission and other regional authorities and commissions.

Sen. Begich is a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

“Partnering with existing government authorities will give the VA an excellent platform to make sure Alaska vets get the services they need and have earned,” said Begich.  “This common sense and cost-effective bill will encourage the VA to work with folks already on the ground and reach more of our former servicemen and women in every corner of our country.”

The Veterans Outreach Enhancement Act calls on the VA to improve their outreach to veterans by accounting for the vast regional and cultural differences of America’s veteran population by partnering with existing government authorities and commissions that focus on regional development.  The bill will provide small grants to states and Veterans Service Organizations in rural areas or communities with a high concentration of veterans. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is a co-sponsor of the bill.

These authorities and commissions include:

            The Appalachian Regional Commission

            The Delta Regional Authority

            The Denali Commission

            The Northern Great Plains Regional Authority

            The Southeast Crescent Regional Commission

            The Southwest Boarder Regional Commission

            The Northern Border Regional Commission

 

Sen. Begich has a long record of working to streamline services and outreach to our veterans. He has previously demanded the VA address the unacceptable backlog of claims. He also introduced the Alaska Hero’s card which lead to negotiated agreements between Alaska Native tribal health organizations and the VA to allow rural veterans to access health care closer to home instead of traveling to Anchorage or Seattle. 

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