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“Big 6” IAVA 2018 Advocacy Priorities Revealed at “Storm the Hill” Next Week

NEW YORK, NY (March 2, 2018)  — Next week, as the Department of Veterans Affairs continues to hit headlines, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America will launch its latest policy priorities at Storm the Hill 2018. Storm the Hill is IAVA’s signature leadership development program. Over the years, it has grown from a handful of veterans walking the halls of Congress into a nationally-recognized activation – placing Iraq and Afghanistan veterans across the media and in more than 100 meetings with our nation’s leaders.

On Tuesday, at a joint session of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committee, IAVA’s Chief Policy Officer, Melissa Bryant will reveal IAVA’s “Big 6” policy priorities for 2018. IAVA’s “Big 6” will seek to transform the current landscape for veterans by elevating their voices and ensuring veterans, not politicians, drive the agenda. In IAVA’s most recent member survey, 70% of IAVA members agree that the American public supports veterans however, only 16% believe that the public understands their sacrifices. Elevating veterans’ voices has never been more important than right now.

For over 13 years, IAVA has created and led historic bi-partisan wins for veterans–and for America– ranging from, the New GI Bill, to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, to crushing the VA Backlog, to the Clay Hunt SAV Act, to name a few. Every one of these efforts started with a Storm the Hill. IAVA will make Storm the Hill and this campaign the most bold and critical initiative yet.

“Politicians and leaders in Washington are using veterans and our military as political props and tools like never before. The stakes for veteran’s policy have never been higher. That’s why IAVA is launching its biggest and boldest campaign ever, because veterans’ voices deserve to be at the center of the conversation,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA. “Storm the Hill will rally veterans from across America to jump start a national conversation on the issues we care about the most. And we’ll challenge all Americans to stand with us.”

IAVA will roll out these groundbreaking, urgent, non-partisan priorities through a series of important and inspiring activities next week. Starting on Monday, March 5th, and over the course of the week, IAVA members will “Storm the Hill” to advocate for better care and support for the nation’s over 21 million veterans. Veteran leaders from across America will converge on Capitol Hill for a week of advocacy. IAVA will meet with Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, other top administration officials, other VSOs, members of the media and dozens of Members of Congress, both in private meetings and as part of a roundtable event introducing the issues most important to its members.

On Tuesday, backed by IAVA leaders from across America in the hearing and online, IAVA Chief Policy Officer and Iraq War veteran, Melissa Bryant will testify in Congress on IAVA’s top policy priorities and what IAVA’s members want to see from Congress, VA leadership and the White House in the year to come. Prior to delivering testimony, IAVA will host a VetTogether with local members and press to unveil the “Big 6” priorities to the people that helped shape them.

Storm the Hill: IAVA’s Storm the Hill is a quarterly advocacy campaign and the most powerful non-partisan policy impact program for post-9/11 vets in America. Veterans are selected from all across America in an extremely competitive process. They are diverse in terms of military rank, geography, gender, political party and ethnic background. These dedicated leaders volunteer to leave behind their families, jobs and school, to undertake an intense, once-in-a-lifetime training experience in Washington, DC focused on helping them become powerhouse veteran advocates for the rest of their life. These inspiring leaders are then unleashed on Washington in small teams for a barnstorming week of IAVA-led Congressional testimony, press conferences, panel discussions, meetings with Senators and Representatives, visits to VA, the Pentagon and the White House. Each year, Storm the Hill also introduces IAVA’s annual Policy Agenda and priority legislation.

More details, bios of the Stormers, and a schedule of events can be found at www.StormtheHill.org. And via the hashtag #StormTheHill on Twitter.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.