NEW YORK, NY (September 26, 2016) – Today, as the 2016 presidential race enters the final stretch, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) members nationwide are reminding the candidates that they are accountable to 22 million veterans tonight at the first Presidential debate. IAVA, the nation’s leading voice of the Post-9/11 Generation of Veterans, is calling on NBC moderator Lester Holt to press the candidates to outline specific policies that address the issues facing our nation’s veterans and their families as a part of tonight’s conversation billed as “Securing America”, which is expected to focus on national security.
“This month’s IAVA Commander-in-Chief Forum was watched by over 15 million homes and finally forced the Presidential candidates to confront critical issues facing our community. Many of our members finally got to ask the candidates tough questions on issues like PTSD and VA reform. For three days, the national conversation was finally focused on our veterans, servicemembers and military families. But that was just the start. Tonight’s debate must continue that urgent conversation focused on veterans issues. IAVA continues to press both Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump to answer the single most important question for our veterans and all Americans, “why should we trust you to be the next Commander in Chief?” Rieckhoff continued, “We expect the candidates to present clear and detailed answers about how they’ll support every man and woman overseas and when they come home from war. We’ll also look to the moderator to hold the candidates accountable and get the answers our community deserves after 15 years of war. Any responsible conversation touching on national security must include veterans issues. This is why IAVA will be on hand for all of the debates as a nonpartisan organization, challenging all candidates to stand with our vets and to ensure our voices are heard.”
“On the heels of the historic Commander-in-Chief Forum, NBC has a unique opportunity to continue the conversation on veteran issues in this first debate,” Rieckhoff continued, “and tonight is a perfect opportunity for Mr. Holt to ask important questions posed by IAVA members like:
- How would you stop the outrageous rate of veteran suicide in America taking 20 lives every day?
- Would you privatize the VA or not?
- Do you support the pending Senate plan to cut the New GI Bill by approximately $3B included in the “Veterans First” act? Will you stand with veterans and oppose all cuts to the New GI Bill?
- Would you keep or replace VA Secretary Bob McDonald?
- How specifically would you provide better care to our women veterans?
- Why did you choose to not serve in the military? There are over 22 million veterans in America and over 93% of IAVA members intend to vote this November. A recent Military Times poll has Trump currently leading in the military with almost 37.6%. Gary Johnson was at 36.5%, Clinton at 16.3% and Stein at 1.2%.
IAVA encourages veteran members and supporters nationally to use the hashtag #IAVAVotes before, during and after the debate to focus social media attention on vets issues.
To stay up-to-date on both candidates’ veterans policy positions, and to see IAVA’s comprehensive Policy Agenda recommendations for all candidates, visit IAVA.org/iavavotes.
The first presidential debate will take place at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY at 9 p.m.
IAVA Founder and CEO, Paul Rieckhoff is available for media. If interested, please reach Claire Owens at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-982-9699.
Note to media: Email email@example.com or call 212-982-9699 to speak with 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 15th anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 8,000 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.