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Richardson Campaign Press Release - Governor Richardson Unveils Policy for Veterans and Military Families

November 02, 2007

Richardson begins four-day "Keeping our Promise" tour of Iowa accompanied by well-respected veterans

DAVENPORT, IA-- New Mexico Governor and Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Richardson today unveiled his policy for veterans and military families in Davenport, Iowa at the first event in a four-day "Keeping our Promise" tour through Iowa. Richardson will be joined on the tour by Army Brigadier General John Johns, New Mexico Secretary of Veterans Affairs John Garcia, Congressional Medal of Honor winner Hiroshi Miyamura, and veteran Lou Helwig.

"I believe that we, as a nation, have a lifelong duty to our veterans," Governor Richardson said. "As President, I will reduce federal income taxes by five percent for all veterans for the rest of their lives. Senator Jim Webb-- one of our nation's greatest veterans-- is exactly right on this issue, and I will fight for his proposal. I also will eliminate federal income taxes on all troops in their first year out of the military. It is our responsibility to ease the frequently difficult transition from military to civilian life.

"President Bush cut taxes for our nation's wealthiest citizens. I will cut taxes for our nation's bravest citizens."

As the governor of a state with one of the highest per capita rates of veterans, Richardson has dealt extensively with veterans issues. One of his proudest accomplishments in New Mexico has been the purchase of a $400,000 insurance premium for every member of the state's National Guard, a step since taken by eighteen other states around the country.

In today's speech, Richardson laid out his plan to ensure that veterans receive the best possible health care, beginning with mandatory funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

"When I am President, all veterans will be offered a Heroes Health Card," Richardson said. "If it is inconvenient for them to get to a VA hospital or clinic, you know where my plan would allow them to receive care? Wherever they need it. As we expand choice, we also must ensure that the VA system is the strongest it can be. I will guarantee full mandatory funding for the VA. No more year-to-year discretionary funding. No more political calculation. No more playing games with the health of our veterans.

"We also must recognize that not every injury can be treated with bandages and stents. Mental trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries also are battlefield injuries."

Richardson described how he would honor the military families which keep our armed forces strong.

"Often, spouses and parents are forced to leave their jobs in order to care for a wounded soldier," Richardson said. "As President, I will offer a comprehensive disability insurance policy to average $40,000. This policy would cover the necessary expenses when a spouse, parent, or other family member stays by the side of a wounded veteran during his or her recovery process. My plan also will offer up to a year of paid leave to provide financial stability for the families of recovering veterans."

Governor Richardson criticized President Bush's handling of the crisis at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and said that when he becomes President, he will be accountable for the treatment of our veterans.

"The conditions that the world saw at Walter Reed were an insult to our veterans and an embarrassment to our nation," Richardson said. "President Bush should have stood up and taken responsibility, but as in so many other cases, he did not. Instead, we saw another game of Washington musical chairs. When the music stopped, the President scrambled to find himself a comfortable place to sit, well out of the way. When I am President, I will not sit back and watch our veterans suffer."

To read Governor Richardson's policy for Veterans and Military Families, click here.

To see Governor Richardson's "Heroes" ad on veterans, click here.

Bill Richardson, Richardson Campaign Press Release - Governor Richardson Unveils Policy for Veterans and Military Families Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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