Jun 30, 2017

Celebrating Independence Day

As Independence Day approaches, we are reminded of what our Founding Fathers accomplished by signing the Declaration of Independence.    

It is a day of celebration to honor our country’s founders for their bravery and commitment to freedom and independence.  And it is a day to remember what our country stands for.  Our Founding Fathers' vision was to create a form of limited government that would protect a person's rights to life, liberty and property—and these freedoms are embodied in the Constitution and are worth celebrating and defending. 

On Independence Day, my family and I are also reminded of the cost and sacrifice needed for us to maintain our Founding Fathers’ vision.

As we prepare to spend time with family and friends, it’s important that we keep in mind the service and sacrifice of our servicemen and women as well as the military families here at home. 

Among my highest priorities in Congress is ensuring the readiness of our military.  I believe we have a responsibility to support our troops, and honor the promises made to those who have made sacrifices for the freedom we have in this country. 

I answered that call to service in the days after 9/11 when I joined the Marine Corps, and I am joined in Congress by a growing list of distinguished military veterans that continue their service to their country in the House.  Even though I no longer wear a military uniform, my priorities remain the same: ensuring a safe and prosperous nation. 

Job Opportunities for Veterans

For returning military veterans, I am committed to ensuring that those coming out of the military have great jobs, and are able lead a productive life.  Starting a new career isn’t always easy.  However, many of the skills and attributes that veterans develop while serving can be applied to employment in civilian life.

To that end, this week the House—with my support—passed H.R. 2547, the Veterans Expanded Trucking Opportunities Act, which would allow all VA medical professionals, including advanced practice nurses and physicians assistants, to issue commercial driver certifications.  In addition, the House passed H.R. 2258, the ADVANCE Act, which would extend an exemption to commercial drivers’ license driving tests to active duty members of the armed forces and reserves who have experience driving vehicles similar to commercial vehicles.  I’ve undertaken similar efforts in my capacity as Chairman of the Subcommittee on  the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation to enable servicemembers to have an easier time transitioning to a civilian maritime career. 

Veterans Health Care

I am also committed to ensuring that our veterans receive each and every benefit to what they are entitled.  Additionally, I understand how difficult it can be for veterans and military families to deal with the bureaucracy that unfortunately can occur at the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).  Instances of mismanagement or misconduct by the VA have become systemic, and our veterans deserve better. 

S. 1094, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 recently passed the House and the Senate, and was signed into law by President Trump on June 23, 2017.  This act will make it easier for the VA secretary to remove problematic employees at the department, while strengthening whistleblower protections.  This legislation is a positive step forward in restoring public trust in the VA.

If you or someone you know is experiencing an issue with the VA, or any federal agency for that matter, and need assistance, please contact my district office at 619-448-5201 and we will be happy to be of service.  I would also encourage you to visit my website at to learn of other services my office can provide and where you may also sign up to get my e-newsletter and receive updates on legislative issues.


Being elected to serve in the United States House of Representatives is a great honor and responsibility.  I remain dedicated to bettering the lives of people in our region and all Americans, and look forward to assisting you in any way I can.

As we prepare to enjoy this holiday weekend, please take the time to think of those before us and those who continue to defend us, our freedoms, and our way of life. 

Happy Fourth!