Slotkin Holds Women Veterans Town Hall
WASHINGTON – Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-8) today joined women veterans and from across the 8th District for a roundtable discussion on military sexual trauma, health care, education benefits, employment and other issues relevant for women who have served.
"This is a community I feel close to and these are issues I feel passionate about,” said Slotkin, a former CIA analyst who served three tours in Iraq alongside the U.S. military before later serving in senior positions at the Pentagon. Slotkin’s husband is a 30-year Army veteran with two daughters, one an Army officer and the other a Department of Veterans Affairs physician.
"Consider my door open,” Slotkin told more than two dozen women veterans during the roundtable discussion. “I feel like I can have a strong voice on these issues – and I need to hear from you how to direct that fire."
Slotkin was joined on the call by Zaneta Adams, director of the Michigan Veteran Affairs Agency and the first female veteran to serve in that role. Adams emphasized the need to raise awareness of the role women play in military and veterans affairs, which is often overlooked.
"People should know that when they see the face of a veteran, that could be a woman or a man,” Adams said.
During the call, Slotkin expressed her support for a provision included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, passed by the House in July, that creates a pilot program at military service academies to handle the prosecution of sexual assault cases through an independent prosecuting authority, rather than through the military chain of command, as most military-related crimes are handled. “We will be fighting to keep that provision in the final bill,” which must be negotiated between the House and the Senate, Slotkin said.
Veterans asked questions about ensuring access to medical marijuana for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress; about improving sexual harassment awareness training for young troops; and about expanding access to contraceptives in the military and Department of Veterans Affairs health care programs.
Others advocated for expanding legal aid resources for female veterans, an issue Slotkin said merits additional attention. Adams directed veterans to state-offered resources on issues such as veteran homelessness and suicide prevention.