Hawaii’s veterans and military families have made countless sacrifices for our nation, and Mazie is fighting to ensure they receive the benefits and care they have earned. As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs and Armed Services Committees, she has championed legislation to expand access to health services, end veteran homelessness, and honor veterans whose service has gone unrecognized for too many years.
We made our veterans a promise to take care of them when they return home. In the Senate, Mazie has listened to veterans across the state and fought to hold the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accountable when it mistreats or underserves our veterans. She developed a three-pronged Veterans Action Plan to outline her priorities in addressing the most pressing issues facing our veterans: the need for better access to services through communication and collaboration between veterans, their communities, and the VA; improving veterans’ transition to civilian life; and timely access to health care for veterans throughout all of the islands. Mazie has secured millions in funding to build new VA facilities and expand and enhance staffing at existing facilities in Hawaii. She has also worked to improve the process of receiving care by co-sponsoring legislation to reform the claims appeals process.
Mazie collaborated with colleagues across the aisle to expand telehealth access for veterans, provide additional paid sick leave for veterans in federal service, and to fund a program to provide coverage for severely disabled veterans to receive adult day health services. She worked to eliminate a rule that had prevented veterans from being reimbursed for emergency care and to make sure that Native Hawaiian veterans will continue to have access to health care services through their community clinics. She has also successfully advocated for federal investments in new clinics for veterans throughout the state.
Veterans are not immune to the struggle of homelessness. Mazie has been recognized as a national leader in the effort to reduce veteran homelessness, and has worked across the aisle to pass legislation to extend critical programs aimed at providing tools and resources to the organizations in Hawaii dedicated to reducing homelessness among veterans. Mazie also recognizes that the transition from active military service to civilian life can be hard for veterans and their families. She has supported improvements to the Transition Assistance Program and co-sponsored the Forever GI Bill, which permanently expands access to educational resources for Hawaii’s veterans. She has also worked to cut red tape for veterans and their families so they can quickly and easily receive the benefits they have earned.
Often overlooked in our nation’s history are veterans from other nations who answered America’s call-to-arms and fought under the American flag. In World War II, that included more than 250,000 Filipino and Filipino-American soldiers. In the Senate, Mazie worked with the Hawaii Congressional delegation to honor the sacrifice of these men and their families by securing the Congressional Gold Medal for Filipino veterans of World War II. She also worked extensively on reuniting these veterans with their families living overseas, and authored legislation to keep the VA in Manila open, providing vital health services to thousands of beneficiaries in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.