2020 Platform: Veterans and Military Families

California is home to the largest population of U.S. active military members, veterans and their families who have served our country in times of peace and war.  All U.S. veterans are entitled to receive equitable treatment and benefits including education, health care, financial assistance and an expedient pathway to citizenship.

 Service members, veterans, and their families should receive adequate support; should be treated with dignity and respect and protected from discrimination as a result of their 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: 

Service Members and Their Families

  • Demand that our troops be provided with the state-of-the-art protective equipment, technology, weaponry, and full training prior to deployment and demand increased congressional oversight of overseas contingency operations;
  • Insist that the military remove the chain of command from investigating and prosecuting claims of hazing, rape, and sexual harassment;
  • Demand that activated reservists and National Guard members resume their jobs upon return from deployment and hold employers accountable 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 provide a secure system of electronic balloting to ensure full and timely opportunity to vote and that their votes are counted;
  • Demand that the federal government honor its commitment to service members and their families to provide adequate base housing, schools on military bases, and appropriate base child care facilities, and that rebuilding and repair of military buildings be conducted as expeditiously as possible, especially after damage from natural disasters;
  • 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.;
  • Oppose denial of citizenship to the children of military personnel born outside of the U.S. and denial of citizenship if one parent is not fully documented;
  • Insist that the same benefits given to the armed forces are provided to all National Guard and reservists activated for federal service.

 

Veterans and Their Families

  • Support a Veterans’ Bill of Rights to provide for complete benefits to veterans;
  • Insist that veterans and military families have access to medically necessary treatment in an 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 received less than an honorable discharge due to mental health issues to be automatically reevaluated for honorable discharge;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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 provide resources to veterans including financial management, listing of available housing, and other support services;
  • Insist that all veterans in need of housing services have access to services in the county in which they reside;
  • Support tuition and fee 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 the establishment and funding for Veterans’ Courts accessible to all counties and encourage the establishment of Veterans’ justice programs;
  • Demand quality services and support to veterans transitioning from active duty to appropriate post-service civilian employment.

 

Veterans and the Department of Veterans Affairs

  • 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 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 accelerating claims processing and employing veterans to perform claims and employing veterans to perform claims processing;
  • Insist that all leases and use of VA properties, facilities and land 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;
  • 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.
  • Support the creation of an immediate path to citizenship for individuals who have served in the U.S. Military or were promised U.S. citizenship for aiding U.S. Military in combat;
  • Oppose deportation of individuals who have served in the U.S. Military; and,
  • Oppose limiting citizenship to children born outside of the United States to U.S. citizens in military service.
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