(Wash., D.C.)–“All five presidential candidates who responded to questions posed by Vietnam Veterans of America voiced their support for the enactment of VVA’s top legislative priority, the Toxic Exposure Research Act—S.901 and H.R. 1769,” said John Rowan, VVA National President.
Former Governor and Republican candidate Jeb Bush stated, “Military families serve, too. I don’t think anyone objects to studying the generational effects of noxious chemicals.”
Pledging her support for the enactment of the Toxic Exposure Research Act, Hillary Clinton wrote: “[A]s President, I will dedicate research funding and promote collaborative efforts to facilitate the development and expansion of evidence-based diagnostic tools and treatment for these conditions.
Republican candidate Jim Gilmore, a U.S. Army veteran responded: “One of the great concerns of veterans is their exposure to toxic chemicals such as Agent Orange and the clouds of burning oil from Kuwaiti oil wells ignited by Saddam Hussein’s troops in the 1991 Gulf War. Legislation such as S.901, to study and determine the level of exposure and what the VA should do to ensure treatment of these veterans and their sons and daughters who also may have been affected, is also essential.”
Democratic candidate Sen. Bernard Sanders, a cosponsor of S.901, responded, “I strongly believe the cost of war must include the cost of caring for the brave men and women who have put their lives on the line defending the country. Exposures to toxins like Agent Orange can negatively impact the health of the veterans exposed and have also been shown to cause birth defects in their children. I fully understand the value in creating a national center at the Department of Veterans Affairs that can serve as a centralized, specialized location to research, diagnose, and treat veterans and their family members suffering from the effects of exposure to toxins.”
“Yes, I do support the legislation,” wrote Republican candidate Donald Trump, noting the legislation is “long overdue and should be a top priority for the next President. Said Trump, “Taking care of veterans is not just about taking care of them as individuals—it entails taking care of their families, as well.”
At press time, we were still waiting to hear from Governors Chris Christie and John Kasich; Dr. Ben Carson; Senators Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio; and Ms. Carly Fiorina.
“It is our belief that the candidates’ responses to will assist our veterans, their families, and friends in evaluating the presidential candidates’ positions on issues of import to veterans,” said John Rowan, VVA National President.
To read more and to access the candidates’ answers to other questions concerning critical issues confronting veterans--improving delivery of timely, quality health care to veterans; Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits; and the veteran suicide epidemic--please go to http://www.vvaveteran.org/36-1/36-1_fourquestions.pdf