Legislative Commission Chairman Brett Reistad briefs Legionnaires about the Legion's priorities for the 113th Congress on Sept. 9 in Washington, D.C.

Legionnaires the ‘local face’ in D.C.

On Sept. 10, American Legion National Commander Daniel Dellinger will address a joint session of the House and Senate Committees on Veterans’ Affairs. Following that hearing, dozens of Legionnaires will spread throughout Capitol Hill to meet with their respective senators and representatives.

In order to be properly prepared for those meetings, Legion Legislative Division staff and national leadership briefed those Legionnaires Sept. 9 in Washington, D.C., on the Legion’s priorities for the 113th Congress.

"When people see that (Legion) cap, they know you’re in their office to talk about what matters to everyone back home," Dellinger told Legionnaires at the Capital Hilton. "That’s the power you have. The reason you are in town is because you are the local face. You elected that senator or representative. All politics are local."

Legion staff distributed the "drop sheet" – a pamphlet that lists the Legion’s legislative priorities and provides a succinct explanation of each. Those priorities are:

  • Protect veterans and the Department of Defense from the harmful cuts imposed through sequestration.
  • Oppose further increases in TRICARE fees, including prescription drug fees.
  • Properly fund VA to ensure quality health care and benefits for veterans.
  • Provide quality education through Post-9/11 GI Bill.
  • Focus programs on assisting veterans with jobs.
  • Support veteran entrepreneurs.
  • End veteran homelessness.
  • Eliminate VA claims backlog.
  • Repeal taxes that penalize disabled veterans and widows.
  • Protect the American flag.

"Stick to the issues on the drop sheet," Dellinger advised. "Cover all the issues. And reinforce why you are in D.C."

National Legislative Commission Chairman Brett Reistad urged Legionnaires to continue their lobbying efforts when they return home.

"If you haven’t done so already, please take the time to stop by your (senators’ and representatives’) offices back home and introduce yourself," he said. "Offer the Legion’s vast resources … in all matters concerning veterans."