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Mayor Pete Buttigieg, other Hoosier veterans launch South Bend ‘Veterans for Joe’ with press conference

Afghanistan Veteran and Mayor of South Bend Pete Buttigieg, as well as other local veterans and veterans advocates, today launched the South Bend chapter of the ‘Veterans for Joe’ constituency group at a press conference to discuss Joe’s record fighting for Hoosier veterans in the Senate.

As a constituency group, ‘Veterans for Joe’ will help inform, persuade, and mobilize Hoosiers throughout the election. Joe and his campaign will work with founding members and those who join in the coming months to focus on issues that matter around the state through direct voter contact, media opportunities, and in-person events. The group launched Saturday in Indianapolis. Attendees today included:

Gary Whitehead, former Veterans Service Officer from Elkhart County;

Kent Laudeman, Director of the Miller Veterans Center;

And Mayor Pete Buttigieg, an Afghanistan veteran and member of the Naval Reserves.

Throughout his time in the Senate, Joe has been a champion for veterans:

Joe spent nearly 10 years, dating back to his time in the House of Representatives, fighting for a St. Joseph County VA Clinic, which opened in Mishawaka last year. Similar clinics will also be built in coming years in Terre Haute and western Indianapolis.

In 2013, Joe introduced the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act, named after Jacob Sexton, a National Guardsman who took his own life while on leave. Passed into law as part of the FY 2015 NDAA and now fully implemented, the bill guarantees that every single member of the military – active duty, reserve, and national guard – will receive annual mental health care assessments to ensure they receive the care they need.

In 2015, Joe introduced his Servicemember and Veteran Mental Health Care Package, a trio of bipartisan bills addressing mental health care for servicemembers and veterans. The three bills were signed into law as part of the FY 2016 and FY 2017 NDAAs.

In 2017, Joe and Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) introduced the VA Prescription Data Accountability Act that allowed that VA to share data with state drug monitoring programs for patients who are prescribed opioids by VA providers. The bill was signed into law in November 2017.

In 2013, Joe and Senator John Boozman (R-AR) introduced a bill to create a national memorial to Desert Storm veterans in Washington D.C. The bill was signed into law as part of the FY 2015 NDAA. A site for the memorial on the National Mall was announced last month.

In 2017, Joe and Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced a bill to designate March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. This bill was the first federal statute recognizing Vietnam War veterans. It was signed into law in March 2017.

“I’m proud to be a member of ‘Veterans for Joe’ because he’s worked hard every single day to make sure our government keeps its promises to those who have defended our country. That’s why he spent nearly a decade getting the St. Joseph County VA Clinic built so Michiana veterans can get the care they need right here instead of driving halfway across the state," said Mayor Buttigieg. “Joe’s the hired help for Indiana’s veterans, and we know he’ll never stop fighting for us, as long as we can keep him in the Senate come November.”

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