On Memorial Day this year, I'll be at the Yellowstone County Veterans Cemetery to help dedicate the grounds as a national cemetery.
At Monday's ceremony, there will be time for reflection. Reflection on how we honor the men and women who serve our nation. Reflection on how we care for the veterans who continue to bear the burdens of war.
Recent allegations about the quality of care at Veterans Affairs facilities are troubling - and independent investigators are getting to the bottom of the situation. I am calling for swift action to hold folks accountable - once all the facts are in.
We must always demand the best available care and services for our veterans. And we must work to ensure our commitment never wavers.
In Montana, I'm doing everything I can to honor my commitment to the men and women who sacrifice for our freedoms. I worked hard to get the VA to designate the Yellowstone cemetery as a national cemetery. And I led the charge to expand the Billings VA Clinic so it can offer new, comprehensive services to nearly 20,000 veterans.
Outside of Yellowstone County, I have helped bring new Veterans Centers to Kalispell and Great Falls and new clinics to Havre, Lewistown, Cut Bank, Libby and Hamilton. And I helped secure funding and support for Fort Harrison, just outside Helena, to build a new 24-bed inpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment facility.
But honoring our commitments isn't just about new facilities - it's about making sure we provide efficient and accessible care. That's why I've increased travel reimbursement for veterans, secured more van service to get veterans to and from their doctor's appointments, fought to improve mental health care, improved access to telehealth for rural veterans, and pushed the VA to use new technologies that will cut down on wait times and improve services.
And because veterans also must be prepared to re-join society once they return from the battlefield, I've passed legislation to make the G.I. Bill work in the 21st century and to give tax credit to companies that hire recent veterans.
America holds its veterans in high regard - and rightly so. Ceremonies across our nation on Monday will demonstrate that. But it's what we do the next day and the day after that truly will honor the sacrifices of our military men and women.
We must continue to have conversations about access and quality of care. We must continue to take action to improve services. And we must continue to ask ourselves what we can do to serve our nation.
For me, it's an honor to serve Montana's veterans and their families as a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee - much like it's honor to serve you as your Senator.
Have a safe holiday weekend. Be well and stay in touch,
I’m calling for equal #voting access for Native Americans because the right to vote is a sacred right. http://t.co/eZTvPLxc6U #mtpol
— Senator Jon Tester (@SenatorTester) May 22, 2014
Reading: At Least 22 #Vets Kill Themselves Every Day and No One Gives a Sh*t http://t.co/bRtfBdpCh2 #SOT #p2 #tcot pic.twitter.com/SMzT9yW9S8
— R.Saddler (@Politics_PR) May 24, 2014
1 out of 4 homeless men have served. #UniteBlue wants them to get cared for not politicized. #WeAreUniteBlue pic.twitter.com/4muLtOLeyV
— KHARY PENEBAKER (@kharyp) May 24, 2014
Scientists at the International Agency for Research on Cancer have found what appears to be a strong link between pesticide exposure and a blood cancer called non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Analyzing 44 individual research projects published since 1980, the scientists, writing in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, said that people exposed to the weed killer glyphosate, marked by Monsanto under the brand name Roundup, had double the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When we eat GE foods, we are taking a dose of pesticides with them. Right now, we can’t tell which foods are genetically engineered. We have to guess. EWG believes people the right to know which foods are genetically engineered. [Emily Cassidy, posted at AgMagBlog, Environmental Working Group]
"GMO Grass: Coming to a Lawn Near You? http://t.co/XI7Cal7Suq #Biotechnology #FoodSafety #GMO #Monsanto " #p2
— Kim Acheson (@KimAcheson) May 24, 2014
#Monsanto: the World Doesn't Want Your #GMOs! #MarchAgainstMonsanto http://t.co/LzaV168F3I pic.twitter.com/27b6uNqN1V
— Organic Live Foods (@OrganicLiveFood) May 25, 2014