From the Hill – January 2022

NEPVA participates in round table discussion with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D, MA)

Chapter President Michael Negrete and I were delighted to be invited to participate in a small roundtable discussion on issues impacting the veteran community with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. The objective of the discussion was for Congresswoman Pressley to discuss her advocacy around veterans, share legislative updates her office is working on, and hear directly from veterans in her community.

The Congresswoman shared updates on the GI Restoration Act and her work supporting female veterans. Congresswoman Pressley also discussed the importance of accessible mental health services, and made clear that she believes “every day is Veterans Day”.  Michael and I were thrilled to hear her also raise the importance of the Veteran Families Health Services Act, a NEPVA legislative priority which she has co-sponsored.

Michael strongly advocated for our Chapter, and discussed our support for the Air Carrier Access Amendments Act (ACAA) of 2021. He called on Congress to strengthen the ACAA and raised how this issue directly impacts our members safety and dignity. Among other challenges, he shared that our members have reported: untrained assistance in boarding and deplaning and being physically harmed in the process; damage to their stowed power chairs; lack of seating accommodations; and delays in receiving assistance and returning of assistive devices.

Congresswoman Pressley was very responsive, authentic, and attentive to these issues. We are happy to report that she is looking into formally co-sponsoring the bill. Our Chapter greatly appreciates her leadership and consistent responsiveness to our requests. Following a briefing late last year, the Congresswoman also signed on as a co-sponsor to the AUTO Act.

I would love to speak with any NEPVA member who lives in Congresswoman Pressley’s district. Her office is very focused on representing the needs of their constituents and doing direct outreach to veterans. If interested in learning more about what Congresswoman Pressley is doing in your district, or if you would like to be connected to her staff, please don’t hesitate to contact me at kristen@newengland.pva.

Opportunities still available to participate in the 2022 Pushing Access Forward Advocacy/Legislation Seminar

A reminder to all that there is still time to join our growing Advocacy team. We are looking for interested members to participate in the 2022 annual Advocacy/Legislation Seminar, which will be held virtually March 7th – March 11th. The seminar provides participants with in-depth knowledge of PVA’s legislative priorities and an opportunity to meet (virtually!) with Members of Congress and/or their staff. These meetings are incredibly important to our work at NEPVA, and often result in Members of Congress signing onto our priority legislation.

If you are interested in participating and joining our growing NEPVA advocacy team, please reach out to me at kristen@newenglandpva.org or 571-289-8276. I look forward to speaking with you and telling you more about this opportunity!

Urgent help needed from all Rhode Island and New Hampshire members

Our Chapter needs all of our Rhode Island and New Hampshire members to send an email to Congress in support of the AUTO Act today.

Please take a few minutes and fill out the VoterVoice link below. As you may recall, VoterVoice is a new program from PVA that allows us to harness the grassroots power of our members in a quick, easy, and effective way. The VoterVoice system enables members to take action by sending a pre-written email to your members of Congress. All you need to do is fill in your address and hit send.

As you may have already read in previous editions of the CordWord, our Chapter has been advocating for the AUTO for Veterans Act (H.R. 1361/S. 444). This legislation would lessen the financial burden and expand access to transportation for eligible, disabled veterans by allowing them to receive an additional Automobile Grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) every ten years. I’ve been speaking with Congressional district staff about this issue but nothing is more powerful than hearing from a constituent.

While this month’s push is targeting RI and NH, we need all of our members to contact their Representatives in Congress if you haven’t already. Together, let’s encourage the entire New England Congressional Delegation to formally support this legislation!

All of the information you need to respond and take action is available here: https://www.votervoice.net/PVA/campaigns/78011/respond.

If you are interested in participating and joining our growing NEPVA advocacy team, please reach out to me at kristen@newenglandpva.org or 571-289-8276. I look forward to speaking with you and telling you more about this opportunity!

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