New Ad Running Statewide and Online
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Today, the Portman for Senate Campaign released its latest TV ad titled “Vets" featuring Cpl. James Adkins (Ret.), US Army and his wife Rebel Adkins. The ad highlights Rob's work to help Cpl. Adkins when he returned home from Iraq and Rob's work to ensure Ohio veterans are taken care of and receive the benefits they earned and deserve. "Vets" begins running statewide in Ohio today on TV and online. You may click HERE or on the video below to watch “Vets."
Cpl. Adkins: While in Iraq I was stationed at LSA Anaconda. It was heavily hit by an IED. I ruptured my L4 - it's a vertebrae in my lower back caused by an IED.
Rebel: The surgeon told him that, 'You know after this first surgery, every five years you are going to have to have this repeated.'
Cpl. Adkins: That's why we filed for the disability. The VA has a long process. Usually if you file for disability it can take up to two years for you to get a decision. We were living off my savings, which wasn't enough with two kids. I was about three days away from getting my electric shut off. We contacted Senator Portman and we heard back saying that he was going to expedite my case.
Rebel: Senator Portman made a huge difference for our family.
Cpl. Adkins: Rob Portman felt like it was his duty to help us. That I'm able to provide for my kids - it made a world of difference.
Rebel: I don't know where we would be without the help that Rob Portman gave us. He's made a real difference and he is still helping veterans everyday.
Rob Portman: I'm Rob Portman and I approve this message.
Last month, the Ohio Veterans United endorsed Rob for U.S. Senate. The group of veterans agrees Rob is the only candidate in this race with a proven record of standing up for Ohio veterans and their families.
In August of last year, the Portman for Senate campaign launched its Veterans Leadership Council. This diverse group of veterans from across Ohio advises the Portman campaign on issues impacting veterans and helps to spread the word on Rob's policy initiatives to support America’s best and brightest. Chaired by Air Force Veteran and Vietnam POW Colonel Thomas Moe, the Veterans Leadership Council is an active component of the Portman for Senate campaign. You may click HERE or on the video below to here more from Col. Moe.
Rob Portman: Fighting for our Veterans:
Honoring his dad, who was a World War II Army Infantry Lieutenant, and his grandfather, who was a World War I Army Infantry veteran, Rob believes we should do all that we can to fight for our nation’s veterans. They fought for us, and now we must fight for them.
Honoring All of Our Fallen Heroes:
Rob authored the bipartisan Veterans Missing in America Act, which became law in 2012. This important legislation allows the VA to work with veterans groups to determine whether unidentified or abandoned remains are those of veterans eligible for burial at a National Cemetery. Veterans have put country above self to defend our nation, and they deserve our utmost respect, even if they have no families to claim their remains.
Fixing the VA Backlog:
Rob is a leader in pushing for increased accountability and efficiency at the Department of Veterans Affairs. He has consistently pressed the VA to address the unacceptable backlog in veterans’ claims, including joining the Ohio congressional delegation to request monthly accountability reports on the VA’s efforts to eliminate the backlog.
Rob has also worked to make sure VA resources are focused on our veterans – and not union activities. Rob introduced the Federal Employee Accountability Act, a bill that reduces the wrongly-named “official time” - time dedicated to political union activities that have nothing to do with the official work of the VA. A report from the Office of Personnel Management showed that the government spent $155 million on 3.4 million hours of this so-called “official time” in 2011. This activity is an unacceptable use of taxpayer dollars, especially while so many of our veterans are awaiting responses on their claims.
Improving Mental Health Care and Access for Veterans:
Rob introduced the Medical Evaluation Parity for Servicemembers (MEPS) Act, a bill to improve the way the military handles mental health assessments by instituting mental health screenings at entry and exit from service. The entry screening would serve as a baseline for future mental health assessments throughout servicemembers’ careers and help detect potential problems earlier, a key element of successful suicide prevention and mental health treatment efforts.
The MEPS Act also requires the Defense Department to report on the effectiveness of mental health components of the Separation Health Assessment (SHA) servicemembers receive when leaving active duty. Rob’s bill has received the endorsement of over 40 prominent veterans organizations and mental health advocacy groups.
Leading the Fight on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA):
Rob is a national leader in the fight to combat the prescription drug and heroin epidemic. Working with Ohio veterans, Rob crafted the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) in an effort to provide additional help and resources to veterans struggling with drug addiction. Specifically, CARA gives the Attorney General authorization to award grants to Veteran Treatment Courts as well as increases veteran access to drug courts as they recover.
Helping Veterans Receive College Credit:
Rob introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act in 2012 to standardize educational transcripts so veterans who are trying to go back to college can more easily receive credit for their military training.
Listening to Ohio Veterans’ Concerns:
Rob has hosted numerous Veterans Townhall Meetings across Ohio to hear directly from veterans. These include their concerns on compensation benefits, access to medical care, and their perceptions about the Department of Veterans Affairs overall.
Working to Improve Veterans’ Health Services:
Rob is a strong proponent for telemedicine for our veterans and has pressed VA officials to speed up pilot programs designed to reduce barriers to care.
Telehealth is an innovative, 21st century approach to problems involving Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), especially for veterans living in rural areas, where access to mental health treatment is limited, wait times can be long, and in-home access opportunities are rarely utilized.
Rob successfully included an amendment to the NDAA that requires DOD to report on current telehealth initiatives as well as plans to integrate telehealth into the military healthcare system. This report specifically addresses privacy concerns and challenges of implementing telehealth in-group treatment/therapy, outreach to rural areas, and as in-home use.
Rob is an original cosponsor of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014. The legislation expands education and health care benefits for veterans as well as expands in-state tuition for Post 9/11 GI Bill eligible veterans.
Helping to Prevent Veteran Suicide:
Rob supported and voted in favor of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, legislation that improves the Department of Veterans Affairs’ mental health programs.
Helping Ensure Returning Veterans Can Return to their Jobs:
Rob cosponsored legislation that allows Guardsmen and Reservists employed at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to return to their jobs after they return from being called to active duty. The jobs of all other non-military public and private sector employees called up to duty are protected under the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employments Rights Act (USERRA). The legislation required TSA to comply with USERRA.
Rob is an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Hire More Heroes Act. The legislation offers incentives to companies that hire veterans. The bill became law in July 2015.
Rob teamed with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) on legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the World War II Doolittle Raiders. The bill, which passed the U.S. Senate in November 2013, also places the medal on permanent display in Ohio’s National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
Purple Hearts for Fort Hood Victims:
Rob is a cosponsor of the Honoring Fort Hood Heroes Act, which changes DOD policies to allow the Purple Heart to be awarded to servicemembers killed or injured during domestic terror attacks like the 2009 Fort Hood shooting.
World War II Memorial Prayer Act:
Rob introduced and championed legislation that directed the Interior Secretary to install a plaque or inscription at the National World War II Memorial with the words that President Franklin D. Roosevelt prayed with the nation on June 6, 1944, the morning of D-Day. Rob was proud to announce on June 6, 2014, D-Day that his legislation was heading to the President for signature.