BY GUMERSINDO GOMEZ, CHAIR
I’d like to share the highlights of the past two years. Coming out of the 2019 Convention in Spokane, we were energized by the delegates’ unanimous support of the committee’s resolutions.
The ROK resolution that asked for VA health benefits for Korean Vietnam veterans, especially with such issues as PTSD and AO, was introduced by Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.), along with Ms. Debone, Mr. Gomez, Mr. Kim, Ms. Meng, Mr. Pascrell, and Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.). H.R. 5590 was referred to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
This bill will be reintroduced in the new Congress. We will ask VVA members to call upon their legislators to support the bill when it comes out of committee.
Another Minority Affairs Resolution called for equal treatment for the 3.2 million American citizens in Puerto Rico. We are working very closely with Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez on this issue. I have sent her a copy of VVA Resolution MA-10. Soon we’ll send a letter to VVA members, which they can send to their legislators in support of H.R. 4901, the Puerto Rico Statehood Admission Act.
We also have kept tabs on Native American veterans. In November 2019 we sent committee member Bill Garcia to the Arizona Statewide Tribal Veterans Symposium at the Twin Arrows Casino Resort. He spoke with many Native veterans and explained how VVA could help them.
Marc McCabe is working very hard helping Vietnam War veterans and their families in Puerto Rico. He is also very involved with the Seminole Reservation in Florida, strongly advocating for their veterans benefits.
During the pandemic I have been in daily communication with the committee’s members. We will meet via Zoom to discuss changes to the resolutions that will be presented to the Convention in August.