Great courage, boundless devotion and selfless sacrifice, these are the three main characteristics that come to mind when I think about our Veterans; those brave servicemen and women who have fought for our country in all corners of the world. As a member of a military family, Veterans Day has always held a special significance because it is not only a personal reminder of the sacrifices made by my father and brother, but also because it serves as a day to reflect on the contributions of countless men and women who have donned the uniform of the United States.
When I think about our Veterans, I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Having come from a country where freedoms are limited, I am especially moved by their selfless fight for freedom. As I reflect on this noble fight and with gratitude as my guide, I have supported legislation that assists Veterans; from increasing funding to help them find employment after their service, creating additional housing options for female Veterans, to providing loans for transitional housing and emergency shelters for homeless Veterans. I have also supported the expansion of the Veterans Property Tax Exemption Program, the passing of the California Wounded Warriors Transitional Leave Act, and was the principal co-author of a resolution recognizing April as the Month of the Military Child. As a Veterans advocate, I made my voice heard when the Department of Defense began collecting enlistment bonuses that were given to Veterans who enlisted during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a member of a military family, I have also worked to help Veterans and their families celebrate the holidays by providing them with Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas toys.
Of all these efforts, I take great pride in having authored Senate Bill 1012, which requires State and local governments to purchase United States and California flags from American manufacturers in the United States. I am proud to share that SB 1012 was signed into law, ensuring that an emblem of national pride that has inspired countless Veterans throughout history, carries with it the added significance of being made here at home.
As you proudly display the American flag on this Veterans Day, please know that in me you have a loyal advocate. As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and the Governor’s Military Council, I will continue to support policies that help the more than 1.9 million Veterans living in the State of California, so that they and future generations of servicemembers can prosper.
On this Veterans Day, I invite all of you to join me to not only to pay tribute to our Veterans but to also demonstrate that their sacrifices are not in vain. Join me in building a stronger California, one where we value the freedoms that our servicemembers have fought so hard to achieve and preserve. In this endeavour, I hope you will also join me in praying for the honorable men and women who, today, are actively fighting to protect these very freedoms.
With sincere gratitude to our Veterans today and always,
State Senator, Thirty-Fourth District
California State Legislature