Last week, we celebrated Veterans Day, an opportunity to recognize the service, bravery, and commitment of our veterans, who sacrifice so much in defense of our nation. I was honored to join veterans from across Hawaii at the Punchbowl Veterans Memorial to thank them for their service.
Senator Hirono with JROTC Cadets at the Punchbowl Veterans Day ceremony.
As important as it is to thank our veterans, the most important thing we can do to honor their sacrifice is ensure they get the benefits they deserve. Over the past two years, Congress has made critical progress for veterans in Hawaii and across our country.
Honoring Our PACT ACT
We passed the Honoring Our PACT Act, which has expanded VA care for more than 3.5 million post-9/11 veterans who have been exposed to toxins during their service, helping more of our veterans get the health care they deserve. I’m glad to say that the PACT Act is already helping veterans in Hawaii. A Honolulu resident who submitted a VA claim prior to the law’s passage, was denied care. After the PACT Act was signed into law, his condition became covered by the VA, and my office was able to help get his claim granted. For more information about accessing PACT Act benefits, click here.
Expanding Mental Health Care
As we work to support the physical health of our veterans, we also have a duty to provide them with the mental health support they need. That’s why Congress also passed the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, which has helped to increase mental health care resources for veterans and make it easier for them to access these resources.
Akaka VA Clinic
Here in Hawaii, we are advancing construction of the Daniel K. Akaka Outpatient VA clinic in Kapolei, a project I’ve been proud to champion in the Senate. Once completed, this clinic will provide important care for veterans not only on Oahu, but across Hawaii and the entire Pacific region.
Senator Hirono tours the construction site of the Daniel K. Akaka VA Clinic in Kapolei.
Welcoming Secretary McDonough
Earlier this year, I welcomed VA Secretary Denis McDonough to Hawaii to hear directly from our veterans about their experiences and the unique challenges they face. During his visit, we reaffirmed our commitment to working together in order to build on the progress we’ve made and help ensure all of our veterans can access the benefits they’ve earned.
Senator Hirono and VA Secretary Denis McDonough meet with student veterans at UH Manoa.
As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, I’m working to provide the VA with the resources they need to continue delivering for our veterans. I’ll keep fighting to ensure all of our veterans in Hawaii and their families receive the support they deserve.