2016 Platform: Veterans and Military Families
All U.S. veterans are entitled to receive equal treatment and benefits, including education, training, health care, home loans, and other financial assistance.
No veteran should be discriminated against due to gender, race, ethnicity, sexual identity, religion, or political affiliation.
To honor the shared heritage and sacrifice of veterans and their families, California Democrats will:
- Insist that the military remove the chain of command from investigating and prosecuting claims of rape and sexual harassment;
- Insist that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides comprehensive and timely, wrap-around health and mental healthcare to all veterans and their families, including those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), which will decrease incidents of domestic violence and suicide;
- Advocate that veterans who were involuntarily discharged due solely to their sexual orientation, automatically upgrade the less-than-honorable discharges to honorable discharges, without the requirement that service members request it;
- Ensure that all leases and use of VA properties, facilities and land by for-profit, non-profit, and government agencies solely benefit veterans and/or their families,
- Support the elimination of homelessness among veterans by increasing funding levels for permanent affordable housing, therapeutic facilities, and utilization of California’s State Armories year-round;
- Provide our troops with the latest protective equipment and weaponry and provide full training prior to deployment;
- Ensure that activated reservists and National Guard members can resume their jobs upon return, and hold accountable employers who remove employment due to their drill or deployment obligations;
- Provide a secure system of electronic balloting for service members and their families who are stationed outside the United States to ensure full and timely opportunity to vote;
- Insist that the VA fulfills its obligation to veterans by reducing the backlog of claims through both accelerated claims processing, and employing veterans to perform claims processing;
- Insist that those who begin their service as documented or undocumented non-residents are afforded an immediate pathway to citizenship complimentary of their service to the U.S.;
- Waive tuition and fees in state colleges and universities, and state-funded vocational, technical and trade schools for veterans of recent conflicts and support implementation of the G.I. Bill for the 21st Century, who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001;
- Support a Veterans Bill of Rights to provide for complete benefits to veterans;
- Ensure that the same benefits given to the armed forces are provided to all National Guard and reserve members activated for federal service;
- Establish and fund Veterans' Courts accessible to all counties and encourage the establishment of Veterans' justice programs;
- Provide assistance to individuals exposed to Agent Orange and other toxins, including contaminated soils, in the course of their military service or as a dependent residing at a former or current military installation; and,
- Provide for equality in the armed forces and veterans’ groups by advocating for issues specific to women veterans and service members;
- Support the licensing of Medical Psychologists to prescribe psychotropic medications to treat veterans’ mental health needs;
- Provide better services and support to veterans making the transition from active duty to appropriate and rewarding post-service civilian employment.