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 identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, 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 hazing, rape, and sexual harassment;
  • Insist that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provide timely access to comprehensive, quality and cost-effective wrap-around health care and mental health services to all veterans and their families, with particular attention to veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in order to stem incidents of domestic violence and suicide;
  • Oppose privatization of veterans’ health care services;
  • Insist that the VA fulfill its obligation to veterans by reducing the backlog of claims by accelerating claims processing and employing veterans to perform claims processing;
  • Insist that veterans and military families have access to medically necessary treatment in the appropriate facility as recommended by the treating physician including the use of medicinal cannabis in states where it is legalized and support the licensing of medical psychologists to prescribe psychotropic medications to treat veterans’ mental health needs;
  • Advocate that veterans in isolated rural areas have ready access to physical and mental health care services in reasonably close proximity;
  • Advocate for veterans who were involuntarily discharged due solely to their sexual orientation, to have that discharge automatically upgraded from less-than-honorable discharges to honorable discharges without the requirement that service members request it;
  • Advocate for veterans who received less than an honorable discharge due to mental health issues to be automatically reevaluated for honorable discharge;
  • Insist 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 by providing quality services including housing, clothing, food, education, and training;
  • Support the elimination of homelessness among veterans by increasing funding levels for temporary, transitional, and permanent affordable housing, therapeutic facilities, using California’s State Armories year-round, and providing resources to veterans including financial management, listing of available housing, and other supportive services;
  • Insist that all veterans in need of housing services have access to services in the county in which they reside;
  • Demand providing our troops with the latest protective equipment, technology, weaponry, and full training prior to deployment and support increased congressional oversight of overseas contingency operations;
  • Demand that activated reservists and National Guard members can resume their jobs upon return and hold accountable employers for the removal of members from employment due to their drill or deployment obligations;
  • Demand that service members and their families who are stationed outside the United States are provided a secure system of electronic balloting to ensure full and timely opportunity to vote;
  • Insist that those who begin their service as documented or undocumented residents are afforded an immediate pathway to citizenship consistent with their service to the U.S.;
  • Support tuition and fees waivers 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 for those who have served on active duty since September 11, 2001;
  • Support a Veterans Bill of Rights to provide for complete benefits to veterans;
  • Insist that the same benefits given to the armed forces are provided to all National Guard and reserve members activated for federal service;
  • Support the establishment and funding for Veterans' Courts accessible to all counties and encourage the establishment of Veterans' justice programs;
  • Demand that the government provides 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;
  • Demand that the government recognizes equality in the armed forces and veterans’ groups by advocating for issues specific to women, LGBT, and transgender veterans and service members; and,
  • Demand better services and support to veterans making the transition from active duty to appropriate and rewarding post-service civilian employment.





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