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ISSUE

Veterans and Military Families

California is home to the largest population of U.S. active military members, veterans and their families who have served our country in times of peace and war.  All U.S. veterans are entitled to receive equitable treatment and benefits including education, health care, financial assistance and an expedient pathway to citizenship.

 Service members, veterans, and their families should receive adequate support; should be treated with dignity and respect and protected from discrimination as a result of their gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability or political affiliation.

To honor the shared heritage and sacrifice of veterans and their families, California Democrats will:

Service Members and Their Families

  • Demand that our troops be provided with the state-of-the-art protective equipment, technology, weaponry, and full training prior to deployment and demand increased congressional oversight of overseas contingency operations;
  • Insist that the military remove the chain of command from investigating and prosecuting claims of hazing, rape, and sexual harassment;
  • Demand that activated reservists and National Guard members resume their jobs upon return from deployment and hold employers accountable for the removal of members from employment due to their drill or deployment obligations;
  • Demand that the Department of Defense conduct Covid-19 related separations from active duty in a constitutional and judicious manner, and allow for discretion in applying less than honorable discharges;
  • Demand that service members and their families who are stationed outside the United States are provided a secure system of electronic balloting to ensure they have a full and timely opportunity to vote and that their votes are counted;
  • Demand that the federal government honor its commitment to service members and their families to provide adequate base housing, meet community economic standards, provide schools and child care facilities on military bases, and when necessary, rebuild and repair military buildings in an expeditious manner, especially after damage from natural disasters;
  • Insist that those who complete their service as documented or undocumented residents are afforded an immediate pathway to citizenship;
  • Oppose the denial of citizenship to the children of military personnel born outside of the U.S. and the denial of citizenship if one parent is not fully documented; and,
  • Insist that the same benefits given to the armed forces are provided to all National Guard and reservist actived for federal service.

Veterans and Their Families

  • Support a Veterans’ Bill of Rights to provide for complete benefits to veterans;
  • Insist that veterans and military families have access to medically necessary treatment in an appropriate facility as recommended by the treating physician, including the use of medicinal cannabis, where legal;
  • Support the licensing of medical psychologists to prescribe psychotropic medications to treat veterans’ mental health needs;
  • Advocate that veterans in isolated rural areas have ready access to physical and mental health care services in a reasonable proximity;
  • Advocate for veterans who received less than an honorable discharge due to mental health issues to be automatically reevaluated for an honorable discharge;
  • Demand that the government provide assistance to individuals exposed to Agent Orange and other toxins, including contaminated soils, in the course of their military service or as a dependent residing at a former or current military installation;
  • Advocate for veterans who were involuntarily discharged based on their sexual orientation to be automatically upgraded from less-than-honorable discharges to honorable discharges without the requirement that service members request it;
  • Support the elimination of homelessness among veterans by increasing funding levels for temporary, transitional, and permanent affordable housing, and therapeutic facilities, using California’s state armories year-round, and provide resources to veterans including financial management, a list of available housing, and other support services;
  • Insist that all veterans in need of housing services have access to services in the county in which they reside;
  • Support tuition and fee waivers at state colleges and universities and state-funded vocational, technical, and trade schools for veterans of recent conflicts and support the implementation of legislation to provide a more comprehensive G.I. Bill for those who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001 with a waiver of any student loans or obligations beyond covered costs;
  • Support the establishment and funding for Veterans’ Courts accessible to all counties and encourage the establishment of Veterans’ justice programs; and,
  • Demand quality services and support for veterans transitioning from active duty to appropriate post-service civilian employment.

Veterans and the Department of Veterans Affairs

  • Insist that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provide timely access to comprehensive, quality and cost-effective wrap-around health care and mental health care and mental health services to all veterans and their families, with particular attention to veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in order to stem incidents of domestic violence and suicide;
  • Oppose privatization of veterans’ health care services;
  • Insist that the VA fulfill its obligation to veterans by accelerating claims processing and employing veterans to perform claims processing;
  • Insist that all leases and use of VA properties, facilities, and land for for-profit and non-profit organizations, or government agencies solely benefit veterans and/or their families by providing quality services including housing, clothing, food, education, and training;
  • Demand that the government recognizes equality in the armed forces and veterans’ groups by advocating for issues specific to women and the LGBTQ+ community;
  • Support the creation of an immediate path to citizenship for individuals who have served in the U.S. Military or were promised U.S. citizenship for aiding the U.S. Military in combat;
  • Oppose the deportation of individuals who have served in the U.S. Military; and,
  • Oppose any limitations on citizenship for children born outside of the United States to U.S. citizens in military service.
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