Throughout the past few months, we have seen a whirlwind of debates and speeches from both the 2016 Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. While there are a number of hot-button topics that were discussed such as national safety, minimum wage increases, the nation’s economic health, international affairs, and education, veterans’ issues have now become a prominent topic within a majority of debates. While you can never truly judge a candidate on just one response on a very niche issue, we as a society need to recognize where they stand for our American troops. As brother and son retired veterans, these issues speak loudly to me on who these candidates our and what they believe in for our country.
Below, you will find an overall summary of where these candidates stand to date. If you would like to learn more, visit Task & Purpose here to get the full breakdown on the candidate and their stance on veteran issues.
Combating Suicide Among Troops and Veterans:
For this issue, Hillary Clinton has become the only candidate to propose a policy plan to combat suicide. With suicide rates increasing with former and veteran military personnel, we as a society need to stop overlooking the issue and attack it head on. We saw this type of behavior, PTSD, after the Vietnam War and continue to shy away from it. While the other candidates have only briefly mentioned the issue, I will not be surprise to see this issue discussed to its full capacity.
Women in the Military
In an ever-evolving society, women’s rights have continuously grown year after year. Even in the male testosterone-filled field known as the military, many candidates such as Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, and Marco Rubio have made positive comments about integrating more women into the military. This includes rights, job titles, and compensation such as pay and benefits.
Modernizing the Government to Work for Today’s Veterans
Many of the candidates have frequently mentioned the integration of veteran affairs with the government. Trump has revamped his slogan for this particular issue to say that he wants to, “make the VA great again.” Clinton has taken a different direction and wants to create a number of bureaucratic entities to examine the VA. And last but not least, Ben Carson wants to merge the Defense Department with the VA.
Defending Veteran and Military Education Benefits and Programs
This has always been a positive one, but has not been fully implemented within a presidential system. Many of the candidates have shown their support to protect the education benefits for our troop such as Clinton and Sanders who hope to expand the use of Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits.