As an Air Force veteran, I have an appreciation for our veterans and an understanding of the sacrifices they have made to ensure the freedoms we enjoy. I have served on the House Veterans Affairs Committee since I came to Congress. Previously, I served as Chairman of the Health Subcommittee and as the Subcommittee’s Vice Chairman.
- Fought to include a provision in H.R. 1516, the National Cemetery Expansion Act, to establish a new veterans cemetery in northeast Florida which was enacted in 2003.
- Introduced the VA Health Care Personnel Act of 2000, which provided pay increases for skilled VA health personnel.
- Introduced the Veterans Millennium Health Care & Benefits Act that was enacted in 1999 to improve access to long-term care for disabled veterans and expand the VA’s obligation to provide alternative to nursing home care.
- Worked to ensure construction of a new patient bed tower at the Malcom Randall VA Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. The tower was dedicated in 2008. The new facility now provides 226 private rooms and space for Veterans and their families. The 245,000 square-foot, five-story tower also accommodates additional services to veterans with a new laboratory area and expanded emergency room.
- Worked with the VA to establish the new VA Outpatient Clinics in The Villages, FL. I also helped the VA establish a psychiatric facility in Gainesville, the first in the southeast United States.
- Since 2007, I have welcomed numerous groups of World War II veterans visiting the World War II Memorial on the National Mall, as well as, arranging wreath-laying ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and assisted with planning. We can never properly thank these veterans, but these trips to Washington, D.C. are a fitting honor.