Congratulating the Virginia Department of Veterans Services on the Opening of the Fairfax Veterans Benefits Officeby Representative Gerald E. Connolly
Posted on 2015-12-10
in the house of representatives
Thursday, December 10, 2015
Mr. CONNOLLY. Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate the Virginia
Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs John C. Harvey, Jr. and
Department of Veterans Services Benefits Director Tom Herthel on the
opening of the new Veterans Benefits office in Fairfax City.
The 11th District of Virginia is home to almost 54,000 veterans. More than 70% are veterans of the wars in the Persian Gulf. The opening of this new center will ensure that they receive timely access to the benefits they have earned.
The opening of this office is yet another step in addressing the needs of our veterans. While the statistics indicate that overall, veterans in the 11th District may be more economically or professionally secure, the dedicated men and women who have served our country in uniform are still plagued by the same issues that veterans around the country face including prolonged disability or appeal processing times, difficulty scheduling appointments with the VA medical centers, and delays in receiving Post 9-11 GI Bill educational benefits. We must do more to ensure that these issues and others are addressed and resolved. For our community, the statistics are encouraging. The percentage of unemployed veterans is 3.3%, two percentage points better than the national average. The percentage of veterans living below the poverty line is 2.2%, well below the national average of 12.5%. More than 60% of veterans in this district have a bachelor's degree or higher, almost twice the national average.
These numbers speak to the character of these individuals and also to the network of support services that have emerged in the 11th District. We, as a community, are united in our efforts to provide any and all assistance and guidance needed.
Mr. Speaker, providing care for our men and women in uniform after they return home from the battlefield is a sacred obligation. I ask my colleagues to join me in commending the Virginia Department of Veterans Services and its dedicated staff on the opening of this new Veterans Benefits Office, and I offer my continued support and assistance to these ongoing efforts.