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Opening Statement of Hon. Gus M. Bilirakis, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida

I want to thank Chairman Hall and Chairman Michaud for scheduling today’s joint hearing on the issues facing women and minority veterans.  As a new member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I am glad that we will be examining how women and minority veterans are being treated within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  

The numbers of women and minorities serving in our military continues to grow, and consequently, their ranks among our nation’s veterans’ population is also rising.  As a result of the changing demographics of our military personnel, I believe it is important for our Committee to examine the challenges that face women and minority veterans as they transition back into civilian life. 

We must also ensure that they have access to the services and benefits that they have earned through their service to our country.  I am anxious to hear from our witnesses to learn more about how we improve the services provided to women and minority veterans.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I look forward to working with you and our colleagues on the VA Committee on these important issues.