Contact James Edgar
Released June 27, 2018
Put Vets First! PAC has vetted friends of American veterans since 2012. During this year’s election cycle, we are proud to honor our second round of ten strong representatives in federal and state offices, who we believe will serve the interests of our 21,800,00 veterans and keep the pressure on the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve management and administration, while also protecting tax payers' dollars.
Senator Joe Manchin(D-WV) came to the U.S. Congress by way of a long a storied career in West Virginia public service. Put Vets First! PAC is proud to recognize the leadership, advocacy, and hard work Sen. Manchin has exhibited throughout his long career.
Tragedy elevated West Virginia governor Joe Manchin to national prominence in early 2006, when an explosion at his state's Sago Mine trapped several workers underground.
As the first day stretched into a second, and rescue teams worked to free the men, Manchin was a frequent presence on national news coverage of the event. The first-term Democrat was commended for his handling of his state's worst mining accident in 37 years, and afterward he promised the coal-mining industry that it would face tougher safety regulations to prevent future casualties.
Since his election to the Senate, Sen. Manchin has served on several Committees and Subcommittees, rising steadily through the party and the Senate leadership. Senator Manchin recognizes the sacrifices and patriotism of our veterans, and he is committed to ensuring veterans receive the best available care and benefits.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Senator Manchin is proud to continue that mission and be a strong voice for improving veterans’ services and programs. Sen. Manchin believes that we should thank our veterans every day for their unwavering dedication and service to this great country, and he is honored to express his gratitude for their service by serving them on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. For his continuing efforts and hard work, Senator Joe Manchin has been named to the Put Vets First! PAC 2018 All-Star Team.
Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) believes that “all public service is a trust, given in faith and accepted in honor.”1 Since he was elected to the United States Senate in 2006, he has worked to create family sustaining jobs and foster financial security for Pennsylvania families; protect our children and invest in their futures; ensure safety at home and respect for America abroad; and promote honesty and accountability in government. His desire for accountability extends to the Veterans Administration and it is for that reason That Put Vets First! PAC has chosen Sen. Casey for the 2018 All-Star Team!
In eight years as Pennsylvania Auditor General and two years as State Treasurer, Bob Casey compiled a record that focused on making government more accountable and responsive to the needs of Pennsylvanians. He has been a fiscal watchdog who made nursing homes safer, child care more affordable and government more accountable. He led the fight to reform Megan's Law to better protect Pennsylvania children and communities.
Congressman Don Bacon (R-NE), served nearly 30 years in the United States Air Force, retiring as a decorated Brigadier General. He was assigned to a total of 16 duty stations, including Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Upon retiring from the military, Rep. Bacon served as a military advisor for Congressman Jeff Fortenberry and currently represents Nebraska’s 2nd district and is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. His commitment to the service and to veterans has earned him a place on the All Star team as a champion for our nation’s veterans. The Put Vets First! PAC is pleased to consider Rep. Bacon a team member.
Congressman Bacon introduced H.R. 5553, the Loya-Sears Warrior Transition Assistance Reform Act, which would require the Department of Defense to submit a plan to improve its current Transition Assistance Programs and the transition resources provided to veterans. This bill alone provides an example of how Congressman Bacon is a champion for veterans.
Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH) was elected to office in November 2012 and since then has been a strong advocate for veterans. Congresswoman Kuster is the daughter of a WWII veteran and prisoner of war, and strives to create effective transition programs for veterans.
As a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, she has worked to introduce and pass legislation that increases accountability at the Veterans Administration. Put Vets First! PAC recognizes her dedication to veterans through her reforms to the VA that help veterans and save taxpayers money.
Among the legislation she has sponsored most recently is H.R. 5940, Military Sexual Assault Transparency and Accountability Act. This bill would require the Secretary of Defense to submit a report about the number of victims of sexual assault in the military every two years, whether they were punished with any collateral misconduct, and reports on sexual assault prevention initiatives.
For all of her hard work on behalf of veterans and service members, Representative Kuster has earned a starting position on the Puts Vets First! PAC 2018 All-Star Team.
Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), born in Fukushima, Japan, Sen. Hirono escaped to America with her mother to get away from an abusive father back in Japan. As a member of the Senate Armed Services and the Veterans Affairs Committee, she is a firm advocate for service members and their families, ensuring that education, training, and treatment of veterans remains on top of her priority list.
In January, Sen. Hirono’s cosponsored bill passed the Senate which would improve healthcare access for veterans by expanding VA telehealth services, to also include mental health treatment. Partnered with Senator Joni Ernst (who introduced the bill), this legislation would allow telemedical services across state lines. This type of bipartisan work has put Sen. Mazie Hirono at the top of Put Vets First! PAC list as a champion for veterans and a 2018 All-Star!
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), has fought for veterans in several ways. He was elected in 2007, and has held 300 roundtable discussions with his constituents about the problems they face and what he can do to improve the situation. He served a full term on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and secured $15 million to build the Ohio Western Reserve Cemetery for Veterans. He has advocated for improved training for veterans so they can receive jobs when returning from the service.
On June 6th, the President signed Brown’s bill which would improve care for veterans. Some of the provisions included in this bill are expanding benefits for veterans’ caregivers, ensure safe prescriptions of opioids to veterans, and to improve the quality of veteran healthcare training doctors receive who are not a part of the VA. For all of his efforts on behalf of veterans, Senator Brown has been selected as a Put Vets First! PAC All-Star Team.
Congressman Clay Higgins (R-LA), served in the United States Army/Louisiana National Guard as a military police officer, were he reached the rank of E-6 (Staff Sergeant). He joined the police force in 2004 so as to continue to serve and protect this country. As a member of the House Committee on Veteran Affairs, he is a champion for veterans with his views of modernizing the Veterans Administration.
Con. Higgins firmly believes our veterans are not getting the care they need from the VA, and he believes veterans should be a higher priority than bureaucracy.
In May 2018 the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5674, the VA MISSIONS Act, of which Rep. Higgins is a cosponsor. This bill would streamline several VA programs, including extending choices for the Choice Program, expand the Post-9/11 Caregivers Program, and streamline the VA’s multiple community care programs into one single program. Con. Higgins desire to improve the turmoil at the VA has earned him a spot as one of the top champions to veterans and a 2018 All-Star!
Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA), was born and raised in Riverdale, CA and graduated high school as the valedictorian. From there he attended Harvard University and received a BA in Government. Serving as a member of the House Committee on Veteran Affairs and as a representative of the 8th largest veteran population in the country, he believes in improving both the experience and healthcare veterans have when they seek help from the VA. He is also a firm supporter of improving student veteran vocational and educational training so veterans of this country have a better economic future.
Congressman Takano works furiously to ensure veterans have a better future through their educational benefits, to include fighting to expand and protect the G.I. Bill from for-profit universities who prey on student veterans. He has proposed several solutions to the problem, including the PRO Students Act, which would remove incentives that cause for-profit schools to target veterans in order to receive their G.I. Bill payments.
Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is also being recognized as an All-Star for her bipartisan work with Senator Hirono. In November 2014, Sen. Ernst became the first female combat veteran elected to serve in the Senate.
She joined the United States Army Reserves after graduating from Iowa State University. Sen. Ernst served as a company commander in both Kuwait and Iraq. She led 150 Iowa Army National Guardsmen during Operation Iraqi Freedom and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
One of Senator Ernst’s top priorities remains to be giving veterans better access to mental health services, improving telehealth services, and to ensure the VA is held fully accountable for any nefarious actions.
In 2016, President Obama signed her bipartisan Female Suicide Prevention Act into law, which addressed the issue of female veterans committing suicide at higher rates than male service members. Senator Ernst is a most deserving additional to the Put Vets First! Pac 2018 All-Star Team.
Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) is a Member of the House Armed Services Committee. He requested assignment to the Committee so as to better look out for our veterans and to promote the causes and issues important to all of us.
Representative Bilirakis’s bill, the Service members Improved Transition through Reforms for Ensuring Progress (SIT-REP) Act, passed the House in May. This legislation ensures Veterans are held harmless from any penalties that their school may impose due to potential delays in the processing of their tuition payments. Put Vets First! Pac is truly impressed with this very real and personal awareness of an issue which affects veterans across the country. For his efforts, Congressman Gus Bilirakis has earned a spot on the 2018 All-Star Team! Congratulations.
Pursuant to our mission, Put Vets First! PAC will continue to advocate for veterans to federal candidates and elected officials, while also reporting our findings to the American public. It is our deep pleasure to recognize those Members of Congress, and candidates, who Put Vets First! By naming them to the 2018 All-Star Team!
Since 2010, Put Vets First! PAC has worked to make veterans a top national priority by supporting the election of Champions for Veterans, raising the profile of veterans nationwide and opposing the election of those who refuse to Put Vets First!