IAVA storms Capitol Hill

Jake Hughes
March 05, 2018 - 10:39 am

(Image courtesy of IAVA)

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If you want to get things done on Capitol Hill, you need to be loud or have strength in numbers. Many Veteran Service Organizations have different ways of getting veteran's voices heard on the Hill, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is doing it by showing up in force, through their annual Storm the Hill event.

IAVA is a relatively new VSO. However, having started in 2004 by Army vet Paul Rieckhoff and boasting over 400,000 veterans, family members and military supporters, its young age has not deterred it from being a force to be reckoned with. They are the most popular VSO among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

The week of March 5th marks their Storm the Hill event. The event, first started in 2005, joins members from across the nation and nails down what efforts the group will focus on.

"It's our premiere leadership development and advocacy event," says IAVA Legislative Director Tom Porter."Members from various backgrounds and ranks, different services, but we all have a desire to improve the lives of veterans and our military community."

On Monday the 5th, the group will roll out it's "Big Six" priorities for 2018 at a congressional lunch and relief event on Capitol Hill. The event hosts members of Congress from both parties and staffers, as well as veteran advocacy members. Historically, the group has shown major support for four specific causes:

1. Suicide among veterans and military personnel.  "It's a crisis still," says Porter, "when 20 veterans and military members a day are committing suicide."

2. "She Who Borne the Battle" campaign, which aims to increase the services and care for female veterans.

3.  "Defend the GI Bill" campaign to prevent fraud and abuse of the bill.

4. Improve and defend the VA.

New causes this year are:

5. Initiate Support for Injuries from Burn Pits and other Toxic Exposures

6. Initiate Empowerment of Veterans Who Want to Utilize Cannabis

For more information, or to join IAVA, visit https://iava.org/