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Trump Needs to Stand By Veterans, Advocates Say

Today the country honors its military veterans, including nearly 100,000 in Montana. (jennifer1051/Pixabay)
Today the country honors its military veterans, including nearly 100,000 in Montana. (jennifer1051/Pixabay)
November 11, 2016

HELENA, MT – Montana has 3,000 residents who are active-duty military members and nearly 100,000 veterans. One of the largest advocacy groups for veterans said, now that Donald Trump has been elected to lead the nation, he needs to fulfill his campaign promise to take care of those who serve.

Joy Ilam, the legislative director of the nonprofit group, Disabled American Veterans said one of the most important priorities will be to continue the reforms that have been made in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"They've made a lot of leadership changes there," she said. "They've added a thousand clinical staff. They started to really adjust the policies, making things more veteran-centric, trying to eliminate the bureaucracy in the VA health-care system."

The lame-duck session of Congress starts next week and Ilam said there are many issues important to veterans at stake, including legislation dealing with the backlog of appeals made to the VA.

Ilam said her organization will be reaching out to Trump's transition team.

"We want to really make sure that they are educated on the needs of America's disabled veterans," she added. "We need to make sure that they understand what's important to veterans, and the changes that we want to have made."

The DAV has eight chapters in Montana and helps veterans access the health-care system and disability compensation as well as with housing, education and finding employment.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - MT