Alaska is home to more veterans per capita than any other state in the Union, so it is easy to see why the love for our veterans’ community is ingrained in the tapestry of Alaska. As a veteran myself, I understand that we have a responsibility as a Nation to take care of our veterans. I have made that responsibility one of my top priorities and will continue to fight for all those men and women who are willing to step forward and put their lives on the line for us.
Many of our Alaska veterans live in highly rural areas, and they should be able to receive the care they have earned regardless of where they live. This is why I introduced H.R. 5558, the VA Highly Rural Transportation Program Extension Act, which I am proud to say was incorporated into H.R. 5985, the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act, which was signed into law. This Program enables State Veterans Service Agencies and Veteran Service Organizations to provide no-cost transportation services to VA or VA-authorized healthcare facilities for veterans in counties/boroughs with fewer than seven people per square mile. Furthermore, through the Congressional appropriations process, I have advocated for the funding of $270 million in funding for the VA’s rural health initiative, which provides access and care to veterans in rural areas.