In this election year, the presidential candidates disagree over everything from the economy to the Iraq war to how many houses they can remember to own. But one issue that should be bridging the partisan divide is the importance of caring for our veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Both Senator McCain and Senator Obama have pledged their support for our troops and new veterans -- but will they put their money where their mouth is? IAVA is working to make sure they do.
Over the past two weeks, IAVA has been on the ground in Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul for the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. We have brought a team of our top veterans from around the country to meet with delegates and convention guests to raise awareness about the most critical issues facing the 1.7 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and highlight our historic fight for the new GI Bill.
IAVA is nonpartisan, and does not endorse political candidates. Instead, we're making sure that our message is being heard -- veterans' issues must be at the top of the agenda for both political parties and the new Administration.
This week, we released our list of the top 10 veterans' issues that the next president, Democrat or Republican, needs to address starting Day One. IAVA's number one priority for the next president is to ensure mandatory and confidential mental health screenings for all returning troops. Other critical actions include providing adequate care to wounded service members and ending homelessness among veterans. For the full list of actions, click here.
But we could use your help getting the word out to the presidential candidates. Please take a minute to sign IAVA's open letter asking Senators Obama and McCain to pledge that, if elected, they will enact the recommendations we've made.
Honoring our nation's veterans is not a partisan issue. No matter who the next President is, there will be nearly 2 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan that are owed the best from us. And together, we can send a strong message to both candidates to make veterans' issues a top priority.
Update: Last week, we held a care package event in Denver with our local IAVA members, and were joined by Michelle Obama and her family, Jill Biden, Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter, Iraq veteran Tammy Duckworth, and Medal of Honor recipient Paul Bucha.
All those in attendance showed real commitment to our men and women serving overseas, devoting several hours of their time to sending hundreds of our troops a little piece of home. On behalf of all the troops in Iraq who will be receiving these care packages, I would like to say thank you.
We'll be conducting a similar event here in Minnesota today, and we're expecting the same level of support from the GOP. Keep your eyes on www.iava.org for all the latest info on our presence in Minneapolis-St. Paul.