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Post-9/11 Vets Call on GOP Candidates and CNN to Focus on Veterans

IAVA provides 11-point policy blueprint for caring for veterans and their families

LAS VEGAS (December 15, 2015) – Tonight, as the 2016 presidential race continues with the fifth Republican primary debate hosted by CNN, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) calls on candidates to outline specific policies that address the issues facing our nation’s post-9/11 veterans and their families. IAVA also looks to moderators Wolf Blitzer, Dana Bash and Hugh Hewitt to press candidates on veterans’ issues.

“We are hearing a lot from the candidates about their plans to send our military to face the world’s threats, but little about how they plan to take care of them when they come home,” said Paul Rieckhoff, IAVA Founder and CEO. “With the failure of Congress to allow the 9/11 Zadroga Act to expire, we see very clearly that veterans and first responders are not a priority for Washington. We are less than a year away from a president being elected and having a few paragraphs on your website is not going to cut it. This is why we, as a nonpartisan organization, challenge every candidate to thoroughly explain how they intend to serve our military men and women.”

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 “CNN is well respected among the veteran community,” Rieckhoff continued, “and tonight is a perfect opportunity for CNN to ask the candidates:

  • 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?”

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.

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