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Opening Statement of Hon. Corrine Brown, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida (STATEMENT FOR THE RECORD)

Thank you, Mr. Chairman for holding this hearing.

I am pleased to hear the testimony from the many interested parties today.

As we are all aware, the face of the military has changed dramatically over the last ten years.  With the all-volunteer force the military is made up of now, more minorities and women are choosing this career.

I am sure you have noticed, I am both a woman and a minority.  This issue is very important to me.

The total veteran population in the United States and Puerto Rico, is about 24 million.  The population of women veterans approaches 2 million.  Florida is the third largest state with the women veterans.

 Almost 20 percent of the veterans in this country, in the 2000 census, are of a minority. 

Is the VA addressing the needs of this changing military?  Are they adequately addressing the needs of the increasing number of women and minorities coming out of the minorities?

I look forward to the answers of these and other questions as the hearing moves forward.

Thank you again Mr. Chairman.