With Veterans Day approaching, I want to thank Wisconsin veterans and their families for their service to our country and invite them to attend the Veterans Town Hall I am holding today in La Crosse.

Kind

On this Veterans Day, I wanted to give Wisconsin veterans the opportunity to hear from other veterans or share your own story about the challenges of rejoining civilian life.

We can enjoy the freedoms we have because of the brave men and women who have sacrificed to keep us safe. However, many people fail to realize the struggle many of our service members go through when transitioning back to civilian life.

When many of our veterans return to civilian life, they struggle to find good- paying jobs and financial security. We need to make it easier for them to find good-paying jobs.

Unfortunately, the current Republican Tax Bill will make it harder for veterans to find jobs by repealing the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, which incentivizes employers to hire veterans. I am working to make sure this critical credit isn’t repealed and in the coming weeks will introduce a comprehensive bill to support our veterans as they search for jobs.

In addition to finding good-paying jobs, one of the biggest issues facing veterans is VA medical facilities struggle to recruit and retain qualified health professionals, especially in rural areas like many parts of Wisconsin.

In recent years a number of VA clinics, including ones in Wisconsin Rapids and Wausau, have been forced to turn away veterans due to a shortage of physicians. The Tomah VA Medical Center has also been forced to cut back services due to problems recruiting physicians. That is unacceptable. I am working on the bipartisan Veterans Access to Care Act to fix this problem and help VA facilities recruit qualified mental health professionals, doctors, dentists, and nurses.

The personal stories and experiences of America’s veterans are the most powerful record that we have to document the sacrifice and hardship of our nation at war. I encourage all veterans, even if they are not able to make it to the town hall, to participate in the Veterans History Project.

The Veterans History Project, which I helped create, uses volunteer interviews to record the experiences of veterans and their families. The stories are recorded and entered into the permanent collection of the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center. This project is the largest oral history collection.

Veterans Day is a great opportunity for Americans to encourage veterans they know to share their stories. I have always thought it important for us to honor the heroic, selfless work of our men and women in uniform. By having veterans share their experiences, they can help other veterans who might be struggling with the same problems.

I hope you will be able to join me, local veterans and veterans advocate at 1 p.m. today at the American Legion Post 52.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, a Democrat from La Crosse, represents Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District.

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