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

Chairman Miller, Ranking Member Filner, thank you for calling this timely hearing on putting our veterans back to work.  Our nation’s veterans have made great sacrifices to keep us safe.  During their service in the military they have been trained with important skills.  In addition to dedication, hard work, and loyalty, many have gained technical and leadership skills that are transferrable and beneficial to the civilian workforce.   I am particularly concerned that a stigma exists in the private sector that is contrary to the qualities these men and women have to offer to the civilian workforce. 

The federal government has made significant investments in our service members’ training, and it is critical that these men and women have the resources they need to successfully transfer their skill sets and continue contributing to society.  We must ensure that warriors are not discriminated upon because of the wounds they suffer – be they physical or psychological - as a result of our nation’s wars.   I look forward to using this hearing as a building block to develop ways to break down barriers to veterans’ employment and foster their opportunities.