A Message from Anthony Hassan, Director of the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families

AHassan-cropSince 9/11, more than 2.6 million service members have been deployed overseas, but the U.S. Armed Forces have been defending and exemplifying American values for even longer.

In less than two weeks, Americans will have a chance to truly thank the sacrifices service members and veterans have made to protect our freedoms by taking part in one of America’s most-cherished rights—the right to vote.

Across the nation, elections will be held for multiple seats, including within the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Here in Los Angeles County, two veterans are running for an open seat in California’s 33rd congressional district, which includes the West Los Angeles VA campus. Also on the ballot is a seat on the county’s Board of Supervisors 3rd district that also includes the VA. These leaders have the ability to make tremendous strides for veteran issues.

As you prepare for Election Day, I urge you to become knowledgeable about all the candidates and to not focus solely on those who will represent you in Washington, D.C. The local elections are just as important.

In fact, as our recent Los Angeles County Veterans Study showed, some of the greatest impact can occur at the local level. Our study was the first step and now, armed with this data, civic officials can draft veteran and military policies and programs that are responsive to local needs.

We asked our local veterans to let their voice be heard. It is now our turn. I urge those who are eligible to vote to exercise that right on November 4.

Veteran issues are not just the purview of those who served or those in power. It affects everyone in the community. We need leaders who are willing and ready to honor the moral obligation this country has to veterans and their families, ensuring they receive the services promised them when they enlisted.

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