Senator Johanns, a Republican from Nebraska, has many things going for him -- he knows how governments work at all levels; he has executive experience; and he is not afraid of bipartisanship. These things have served him well in the Senate, a place that benefits from the presence of a practical person. What I especially admire about Senator Johanns is his care and support for veterans and his wholistic approach to legislation to help them.
He has sponsored legislation related to mental health, employment, and housing for veterans. His Helping Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Return to Employment (HIRE) at Home Act was part of the National Defense Authorization Act Conference Report, which became law, and told the Defense Department how to spend its funds. We all realize that it is a real miracle to see anything become law right now. With Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island, Senator Johanns sponsored the Housing Assistance for Veterans (HAVEN) Act, a pilot program to assist disabled and low-income veterans in need of housing accessibility modifications or home repairs. In Senator Johanns' words -- "The HAVEN Act allows non-profit organizations to work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help make simple repairs, keeping veterans safe, healthy and out of more costly health care facilities." He has introduced and cosponsored bills to improve mental health services for vets, especially those with post traumatic stress disorders. Let's hope his housing and mental health bills make it all the way to the President's desk this year.
We have a chance to make Senator Johanns an ally. He is retiring from the Senate at the end of this Congress. He has a solid record on veterans. If veterans in Nebraska would chat with him, Senator Johanns just might decide to support ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and put it in his win column. It would be an honorable addition to his legislative achievements.
Here is Senator Joahanns' contact information:
Washington, D.C.: 202.224.4224
I urge veterans with disabilities, especially those from Nebraska, to reach out to Senator Johanns.