As a Marine Corps veteran, I understand how important the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is to veterans, especially those with permanent injuries from their time in service. Having experienced firsthand the difference the VA can make in the lives of veterans, I will fight to protect services that our veterans rely on every dayespecially those veterans living in rural Maine.

I will never vote to privatize the VA, and I will oppose every effort to do so. Privatization of the VA stands to jeopardize the quality of healthcare provided to veterans, and it will create incentives for corporations to put profits before veterans.

Congress must fully fund the VA, and hold the VA system to the highest of standards. Members of our military are taught to put mission first, and that excuses for failure are unacceptable. Members of Congress and the VA must hold themselves to those same standards.

I will work closely with our veteran service organizations (VSO) to ensure their voices are heard in Congress. VSOs are on the front line assisting veterans, and given the proper resources, they can help Congress and the VA get the job done.

I’ve fought on the ground in two foreign wars. Putting troops in harm’s way should always be a last resort and occur only when a compelling national interest exists. Congress must stop writing blank checks to the Executive Branch and take back the responsibility of approving where and when our country commits our troops.

Over the past decade and a half, America has spent trillions on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and on other conflicts across the globe. War should be a last resort, and only undertaken when the security interests of America are clearly present, and the risks and costs can be appropriately justified to the American people.

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