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Vets to GOP Candidates on Veterans Day Eve: Lay Out Veteran-focused Policies

IAVA continues call for candidates to adopt IAVA’s 11-point veteran policy blueprint

MILWAUKEE (November 10, 2015) – Today, as the 2016 presidential race continues with the fourth Republican primary debate, hosted by Fox Business Network in partnership with The Wall Street Journal, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) members are putting candidates on notice that they will be held accountable to veterans. IAVA, the nation’s first and largest nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, also looks to moderators Maria Bartiromo and Neil Cavuto to press candidates to outline specific policies that address the issues facing our nation’s post-9/11 veterans and their families.

“We are now at debate number five in the race for the presidency and we are still waiting for one substantial question about veterans,” said IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff. “With tomorrow being Veterans Day, this is an absolute softball opportunity for candidates to tell 2.8 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans how they would support them should they become president. We have now sent military personnel to Syria, extended the deadline for Afghanistan and continue operations in Iraq. These candidates better be ready with a clear strategy on how they’ll support every man and woman when they come home from war. The post-9/11 veteran community will not stand on the sidelines while our issues are ignored. This is why we will be on hand in Milwaukee, as a nonpartisan organization, to challenge every candidate to stand with our vets and to ensure our voices are heard.”

To spur the debate around veterans’ issues, IAVA sent letters to the DNC and RNC chairs urging them and the debate sponsors to select an upcoming presidential debate to be focused exclusively on veteran and military issues. IAVA also asked the national parties to support an IAVA-hosted event focused on one-on-one conversations with each candidate on veterans issues. 

“Fox News Business is a well respected news outlet within the veteran community,” Rieckhoff continued, “and tonight is a perfect opportunity for them to ask questions like:

• How would you stop the outrageous rate of veteran suicide in America?
• How would you have reacted to the VA scandal that emerged in Phoenix last year?
• Would you privatize the VA?
• 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?
• What is your reaction to the historic news of two women graduating from Army Ranger school for the first time?”

Local IAVA members will be on hand with IAVA’s Policy Agenda. Each year, IAVA provides a comprehensive policy agenda complete with hundreds of actionable items covering 11 key issues that will help improve the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families. Each candidate who is serious about becoming commander-in-chief is encouraged to review and adopt IAVA’s Policy Agenda as part of their campaign platform.

IAVA also encourages veteran members and supporters nationally to use the hashtag #IAVAVotes throughout the debate to focus social media attention on vets issues.

The Fox News Business GOP debate will take place at the Milwaukee Theatre at 8 p.m. CT / 9 p.m. ET. To stay up-to-date on which of the 18 candidates have provided positions on veterans issues, voters can visit IAVA’s Presidential Tracker at IAVA.org/iavavotes.

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.