Let’s be sure to offer our veterans more than just praise.

By Jessica Mason, Candidate for Congress, TX-30

As a former Navy member myself, with a husband in active duty, I’m truly honored to have served alongside my fellow military sisters and brothers. Additionally, I’d like to extend my sincere condolences to the surviving friends and family of our fallen heroes who lost their lives bravely defending this country.’

 But this Veteran’s Day, I ask that we all offer more than just praise and gratitude for our veterans.

There is no archetype for what it means to be a veteran. Veterans are diverse and come from a variety of backgrounds. Some grew up in families where military duty is like part of a tradition. Some join because they want to fight for our country. And some, like me, enlist due to economic reasons.

For me, the Navy was my path to upward mobility. I joined because it was the only way that I could complete my college degree. Still, I’m deeply proud of my service to my country. It tested my strength in many ways and forced me to see an intimate view of the dark sides of humanity. 

When military survivors return home, they often struggle to adjust — many have no roof over their heads and experience difficulty finding employment, and many come back with medical issues like physical injury, PTSD, and other mental illnesses caused by the traumas of war.

It pains me that after risking life and limb to this country, our returning veterans are met with such a lack of respect and support to ensure their continued survival.

We must do more for our veterans by delivering policies that assist with housing, healthcare, and employment. We must also promote social equity in how we treat our vets, where women, LGBTQ+, and minority veterans are all treated with the same dignity.

The Build Back Better bill includes $18 billion to improve veterans’ health infrastructure. It will help ensure the timely delivery of lifesaving medical and mental health services, which will help reduce the backlog of disability claims and veteran suicides.

It will allocate major funding to the enhancement and repairs of existing VA care facilities that have been neglected. And it will include the construction of brand new state-of-the-art campuses in new locations to provide better access to high-quality care. 

Praise and gratitude is always welcome and appreciated, but as a proud veteran, what I really hope for is that you’ll stand with me in support of President Biden’s bold agenda under the Build Back Better bill. 

About the Author: Jessica Mason is a Navy veteran and nonprofit leader running to represent TX-30, serving Dallas.

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