Toxic exposure, improving health care for women veterans, and telehealth and rural health.
Those are among the highest priorities for The American Legion as the 117th Congress begins, American Legion Legislative Director Lawrence Montreuil said on this week’s Tango Alpha Lima podcast.
Montreuil, who deployed with the Marines and continues to serve in the Marine Reserves, also noted a significant achievement toward the end of the previous Congress related to women veterans.
“A big late session win for us, in H.R. 7105, a big chunk of the Deborah Sampson Act passed, which was really focused at some of the concerns and issues of our fastest growing population that is being treated at the VA.”
Montreuil also emphasized how blue-cap Legionnaires can help drive the legislative priorities. After all, there are more than 1,000 pieces of legislation that affect veterans. He recommended two ways that American Legion members can stay informed and participate in the advocacy process:
• Legislative Council: A Legionnaire is assigned to each of the 535 members of Congress. “Their job is to have a relationship with the elected official or someone in their office to make phone calls when we need to push legislation.”
• Action alerts: Throughout the year, there will be urgent calls to mobilize around a particular piece of legislation. A Commander’s Message email blast will outline the legislation and allow American Legion Family members to contact their lawmakers to support the legislation. (Don’t miss any upcoming Commander’s Messages and action alerts by subscribing here.)
Montreuil said lawmakers do take action when there is large support expressed for a particular bill. “That is the key and the quantitative method of how elected officials can see that veterans care about this issue,” he said.
Tango Alpha Lima, The American Legion’s weekly podcast for veterans, servicemembers and others, is now available for download by 9 a.m. Eastern each Tuesday.
The podcast, which debuted in April 2020, is hosted by American Legion members Mark Seavey, Jeff Daly and Ashley Gorbulja-Maldonado. If you missed any of the previous three dozen episodes, they are available in both audio and video formats here.