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BREAKING: California State Senators Bob Archuleta and Richard Roth to Co-Chair Kamala Harris’ Veterans for the People Committee

Announcement comes after Harris released proposal to expand VA health and housing to more than 500,000 veterans. The plan also immediately rescinds Trump’s transgender military ban and enacts further measures to respect and protect those who serve in uniform and their families.

(September 10, 2019) ~ Today, Senator Kamala Harris’ campaign announced California Senators Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera) and Roth as Co-Chairs of her Veterans For The People Committee. 

Senator Archuleta is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, the first Latino army veteran in history to hold that position.

Senator Roth, who forged a career in the U.S. Air Force for 32 years, is the author of the Veterans Bill of Rights – the first bill in California’s history to codify veterans’ rights into law. 

The announcement of Archuleta and Roth as co-chairs comes after Harris released her plan for veterans this weekend, which would expand access to V.A. health care and housing assistance to over 500,000 more veterans. 

The bold goal says that by the end of her first term, the V.A. will make these vital benefits available to veterans with “other-than-honorable” discharges. 

She noted a government study that said the majority of veterans discharged for misconduct between 2011 and 2015, 62 percent, had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) or other conditions.

“People with PTSD tend to act out. They tend to self-medicate. Which means they’re going to be on drugs or they may be an alcoholic. And then they’re going to get into fights and they have a really short fuse. And guess what happens? All of a sudden you don’t qualify for VA,” Harris said.

She will do this by establishing a presumption of eligibility for these veterans, ending the bureaucratic games veterans often endure that prevents them from getting the benefits they need.

“There is no more solemn duty for a commander-in-chief than taking care of servicemembers, veterans, and their families, and as president, I will commit to expanding access to these benefits to half a million more veterans who don’t have it today,” said Harris. 

“The Trump administration has failed servicemembers and veterans by neglecting key programs to support them and letting quality and wait times at the V.A. get worse. That stops when I am commander-in-chief. California is home to more veterans than any other state, and throughout my career, I have stood up for veterans and servicemembers — from taking on for-profit colleges who are scamming them and restoring their educational benefits, to introducing legislation to connect veterans with jobs in the federal government. Serving our veterans has always been a top priority for me, and through this plan, I will continue to fight for them as president.” 

Harris’ plan draws on her experience as California Attorney General, where she took on for-profit colleges for defrauding veterans and other students and issued consumer alerts to veterans warning of scams. 

As president, she would beef up resources for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Justice Department to go after scammers or anyone aiming to defraud or take advantage of military families, direct the Justice Department to create an interagency task force to enforce consumer protection, and rescind Trump’s policies that have benefited for-profit schools at the expense of veterans and military families. 

Harris’ proposal also seeks to right the wrongs that the Trump administration has committed to veterans and servicemembers by immediately rescinding Trump’s discriminatory transgender ban and reinstituting programs that enable and encourage immigrants and first-generation Americans to serve. 

The plan also directs the Secretary of Defense and military leaders to combat sexual harassment and sexual assault in the military. 

State Senators Bob Archuleta (left) and Richard Roth.

“Senator Harris’ proposal strongly reaffirms her commitment to safeguarding veterans. She understands that after their service and sacrifice, it’s on us to provide resources and support necessary for them to transition back to society,” said Archuleta. 

Sen. Archuleta continued, “Our veteran community is asking for the basics from our leadership – safe housing, mental health services, and job training. Senator Harris is outlining a plan that protects those who protect us.” 

“Far too often, we overlook our heroes, who put their lives on the line to fight for our country. Kamala Harris is intent on ensuring safety and security for our veterans, and I’ve learned that she achieves what she sets her mind on,” said Roth.  “I’m confident that her plans will immediately and significantly impact our veteran community in California and beyond.” 

In California, there are 1.8 million veterans, more than in any other state. As veterans themselves and lifelong advocates for others who served, Senators Archuleta and Roth commend Harris’ plan to continue giving veterans the access to the stability and dignity they deserve.

 
 
 
 

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