Veterans “Storm the Hill” to Ensure Congress Acts on IAVA 2019 Policy Priorities
New York, NY (February 26, 2019) – From March 4-8, veteran members of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America will descend on Washington, DC to unveil the organization’s policy priorities for the new Congress, and testify before the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees as part of IAVA’s quarterly Storm the Hill. During Storm the Hill veterans come from all over the United States to meet with their members of Congress and engage in a variety of events championing a wide array of important veterans issues. IAVA’s policy priorities for the 116th Congress will be announced at an open press event at noon on March 6th on Capitol Hill.
As part of the Spring Storm the Hill, IAVA will also deliver two Congressional testimonies. On Thursday March 7th, at a joint session of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committee, IAVA Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Butler will expound upon IAVA’s priorities and expectations for 2019 and the 116th Congress. IAVA’s Chief Policy Officer will also testify before the House Veterans Affairs Committee on March 6th on Veteran Suicide – IAVA’s number one policy priority.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has continued to hit headlines recently, highlighting the importance of accountability for the Department, and the presence of veterans voices on Capitol Hill. These IAVA veterans will champion IAVA’s policy priorities, highlighting the important ways in which veterans continue to be underserved. 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, 68% of IAVA members agree that the American public supports veterans however, only 19% believe that the public understands their sacrifices. Elevating veterans’ voices has never been more important than right now.
For over 14 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.
“We are in the midst of a national conversation about the role of government and what American leadership should look like. Our veterans are coming to Washington DC to model the leadership they hope to see in the VA and in Congress. They have powerful voices that deserve to be heard,” said Jeremy Butler, CEO of IAVA. “Our leadership needs to take a moment this week and focus on our veterans and their needs.”
Storm the Hill: 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. Storm the Hill is now 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.