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Women veterans office proposed

EDITOR:

Women veterans have always played an active role in the United States military, dating back to service to our nation’s first military in the Revolutionary War. Now, they serve all of us in roles in every branch of service, ranging from fighter pilot to intelligence analyst to infantry to medics and many, many more.

These women who have signed up to serve our nation deserve our respect and support – and there are more than 43,000 women veterans in Michigan alone.

Unfortunately, women veterans face challenges in returning to civilian life. Women veterans face higher unemployment rates and more significant poverty challenges.

Women veterans are more likely than their male counterparts to deal with challenges including homelessness, sexual trauma, suicide, and service-connected disability. Our VA healthcare system was also designed during an era of primarily male servicemembers, and many female veterans do not have access to a women’s healthcare specialist at their local VA medical center, in addition to other challenges with accessing services at the VA.

Michigan House Bill 5231 will create a permanent Michigan Women Veterans Office within the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. This office’s mission is to continue the important work of advocating for women veterans’ needs within the MVAA, and increase outreach on existing benefits and services.

To take action and support these women who have served us, contact your representative, Rep. Beau LaFave, chair of the House Committee on Military, Veterans and Homeland Security at 517-373-0156 or BeauLaFave@house.mi.gov and ask him to bring House Bill 5231 up for a committee vote as soon as possible.

Elise Layton

Marshall

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