Lynne Blankenbeker is running for Congress
By Lynne Blankenbeker
When President Trump became Commander-in-Chief, he vowed to support America’s troops and provide us with the tools needed to defend our country — and he’s clearly taken that commitment seriously throughout his presidency.
The first time I met President Donald J. Trump was at Fort Meyer. He stood in a gymnasium packed with American troops and gave us our mission: Win. Throughout his time in office, the President has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to providing our men and women in uniform with the support they need to carry out that task.
President Trump’s policies have significantly enhanced the strength of our military, the quality of our Department of Veterans Affairs, and the safety of America. Under the previous Obama-Biden administration, our military was depleted due to devastating defense cuts, but President Trump is reversing that damage. Thanks to his leadership, Congress passed two historic National Defense Authorization Acts, which together allocated almost $1.5 trillion to grow and revitalize our military. In addition, President Trump has supported America’s men and women in uniform by securing the largest military pay raise in nearly a decade.
According to the VA, veterans make up about 10 percent of New Hampshire’s population. During his campaign, then-candidate Trump promised to make reforming the VA one of his top priorities – and that’s exactly what he’s done. President Trump secured billions of dollars in new funding for the VA and signed multiple pieces of legislation into law that increase the accountability and efficiency of the VA and improve access to healthcare for our veterans.
One of the most impactful of these reforms is the MISSION Act, which revolutionized and reformed the VA healthcare system by putting veterans at the center of their health care decisions and giving them better access to healthcare providers in their communities.
In addition, the President secured a record $8.6 billion in funding for mental health services with the goal of ending the tragedy of veteran suicide. In 2016, the veteran suicide rate in New Hampshire was significantly higher than the national suicide rate, but this critical funding will help to improve the quality of life for our veterans and hopefully turn the tide on this terrible crisis.
The Trump administration also launched a White House VA hotline to help veterans cut through red tape and provide them with a direct, dedicated contact line to address their needs and concerns. And just this summer, the President signed an executive order to forgive 100 percent of student loan debts for permanently disabled veterans.
The results are clear: No president has done more to strengthen our military and reform the VA to better serve our nation’s heroes than President Trump. As a mother and current servicemember, I’m enormously grateful that President Trump has fulfilled his promises to keep our country safe, restore our military, and ensure that our veterans receive the care they deserve.
Lynne Blankenbeker is a nurse, veteran, legislator, and attorney. A Captain in the Navy Reserves, Lynne has deployed three times in support of Operations in the Middle East. She most recently served two active duty tours in DC; one at the Pentagon and one at the Defense Health Headquarters.