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Fighting for Veterans and Their Families with My State of the Union Guest

I was proud to invite a Long Island Army widow whose husband died from illnesses linked to open-air waste disposal "burn pits" in Iraq to attend the President's State of the Union Address this week.

I was proud to invite a Long Island Army widow whose husband died from illnesses linked to open-air waste disposal "burn pits" in Iraq to attend the President's State of the Union Address this week.

Dina McKenna lost her husband Sgt. William McKenna in 2010 at the age of 41 following a battle with lung ailments and cancer that the Department of Veterans Affairs has confirmed was related to exposure to toxic fumes from burn pits at Balad Air Base, Iraq.

I invited Dina McKenna to the President's speech to increase awareness of the ongoing health crisis among veterans who were exposed to burn pits and build on the bipartisan consensus in Congress that we must do more to ensure affected veterans are receiving the care they need.

I began work on the burn pits issue in 2007 after an Army Nurse whose father was a member of my Veterans Advisory Board alerted me to an increase in respiratory illnesses that she believed might be linked to exposure to fumes from open-air fires used on overseas military bases to incinerate tires, munitions, medical waste, and other potentially hazardous garbage.

In response, I became a leader in the bipartisan effort in Congress to end the military's reliance on burn pits and sharply curtail their use. I also successfully advocated for the Department of Veterans Affairs to proactively identify service members who may have been exposed to toxic fumes during deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan so their health can be monitored and treated using best practices.

They stood up for us, and now it's our turn to fight on behalf of veterans and the military families make heartbreaking and heroic sacrifices for our nation. I thank Dina McKenna for joining me in this vitally important effort.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mary Beth February 15, 2013 at 12:12 PM
We need to take care of these young men and women. When they come home they are our responsibility and we are not doing enough.
Hope and Change February 15, 2013 at 02:23 PM
I have the greatest respect for servicemen and my heart goes out to those families that lose a loved one serving our country. However, it is disgusting that this self promoting narcisist use every tool available to talk about himself. notice this article he owns. nearly every paragraph starts with "I". I this and I that... its about him promoting him and taking a bow for his great works... "I became a leader... what a joke. he is more an embarrasment than a leader. a camera chaser maybe, a leader, not.
David D'Agostino February 15, 2013 at 06:25 PM
Thank you, Rep. Bishop.
Darren Gengarelly Sr. February 16, 2013 at 12:16 AM
Well said Hope. He should be ashamed.
Argile February 17, 2013 at 08:44 AM
I'm curious Mr. Bishop, what's it like to watch Long Island's middle class die a slow death from being overtaxed?

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