JB’s Plan to Support Illinois Veterans

When we support our Veterans, we are building stronger families and communities across our state. Supporting Illinois Veterans means increasing opportunities for their families to build better lives.

As the son and grandson of Navy Veterans, I have a very personal commitment to uphold the sacred obligation to those who risk their lives so that we can live in a free and democratic society.

Illinois should help smooth the transition for Veterans and their families as they return to communities as civilians, and we also need to make sure that once they are home they are supported with housing, employment, healthcare, education and any additional services they need. To make this a reality, we need to increase access to social and economic opportunity.  We must make it easier for Veterans and their spouses to get and keep good paying jobs so they can take care of their families. Access to affordable housing and healthcare options for Veterans and their families must also be increased.

It is unacceptable that our Illinois Veterans’ homes – homes that care for our frail, elderly Veterans – have caused the death of over a dozen Veteran heroes. Over the past three years, we have lost too many Veterans to Legionnaires Disease and deaths continue to be reported. Our heroes deserve to live out their remaining years in dignity, not in fear of unsafe or unhealthy living conditions. We must address ongoing health and safety issues in Illinois Veteran’s homes. It’s unacceptable that cases of Legionnaires disease continue to be reported, and that lives continue to be lost.

This is my plan to support our Veterans and their families:

Increase opportunities for education and employment for Veterans and their families

  • Make it easier for servicemembers returning home to use prior military experience to earn credits at Illinois’ higher education institutions.
  • Stabilize funding for higher education scholarships for Veterans and connect them with job opportunities in the trades.
  • Create jobs by offering additional incentives to businesses that hire Veterans and their spouses.
  • Improve access to state professional licensing based on skills gained while serving in the armed forces.

Ensure Illinois Veterans of all ages have safe, stable, and affordable housing options

  • Reduce homelessness and increase access to safe, affordable housing in communities for Veterans and their families.
  • Remediate all unsafe living conditions for our Veterans and improve the quality of life in Illinois Veterans’ Homes by increasing mandatory health inspections and routine maintenance to end outbreaks of preventable diseases like Legionnaires disease.

Improve healthcare options for Veterans across the state

  • Increasing the number of qualified nursing staff working in Illinois Veterans’ Homes to ensure quality care.
  • Work with communities to recruit and retain qualified medical personnel to expand access to healthcare and mental healthcare, particularly in rural areas.

Better manage and coordinate Veteran’s services

  • Improve online coordination of federal, state and local Veterans services.
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