I served our nation in the U.S. Navy for twenty years, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer, the highest enlisted ranking in the military. Because of this, I believe I have a deep understanding of what our men and women in uniform need, whether it’s at home or overseas. Today, America faces a heightened threat environment across the world. As a member of the House Homeland Security Committee and the House Appropriations Committee, my top priority is keeping our nation safe and countering our adversaries abroad. It's essential that we strengthen our military for a future steeped in greater uncertainty and harden our critical infrastructure to safeguard against severe disruptions.  

Adversaries such as China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea seek to undermine our way of life, our commitment to our allies, and export authoritarianism around the world. We must meet these threats by maintaining a strong military, working with our allies, shoring up critical industries vulnerable to foreign dependencies, bolstering our cybersecurity, and leading with an unyielding resolve for freedom.  

Texas' 23rd district is a critical contributor to our national security. Joint Base San Antonio and Fort Bliss both provide our military with air, cyber, and ground force capabilities. I'm pleased to have secured hundreds of millions of dollars for these installations to ensure they remain at the cutting-edge and capable of meeting our national security needs.  Keeping our military properly funded is one of Congress' most important responsibilities, and I'll continue fighting to ensure they have the resources they need to keep our nation safe and deter our adversaries abroad. 

Ensuring our servicemembers have a good quality of life is an important focus of mine. As a former Navy sailor, I understand how important it is to have the basic life necessities and adequate living conditions. That's why I introduced an amendment to the FY24 House National Defense Authorization Act to increase the military's Family Separation Allowance from $250 to $400 and was pleased to see its passage through the House. This increase is long overdue for our military couples, which hasn't happened since 2004, and who are often stationed far away from each other. This amendment ensures we're taking care of those who sacrifice for us. 

I’m also a proud cosponsor of the Fighter Force Preservation and Recapitalization Act of 2023, which requires the Air Force to maintain 25 Air National Guard fighter squadrons across 22 states. This bill would guarantee that the Texas National Guard’s 149th Fighting Wing at Joint Base San Antonio is kept fully operational and can continue providing our nation with a critical capability. 

Veteran Affairs

It is our duty to provide access to quality care for our military members and veterans who sacrificed and put their lives on the line for our nation. Texas is fortunate to be home to over 120,000 active-duty military members and over 1.6 million proud veterans. Texas' 23rd district includes several military installations including Joint Base San Antonio and Fort Bliss. America made promises to these men and women to honor their sacrifices for the betterment of our nation. I will work tirelessly to ensure that they receive the services they need to complete their mission both during and after their service.

Throughout my time in Congress, I have made it a priority to ensure our nation’s veterans have access to high quality medical care and benefits. As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veteran’s Affairs, I’ve worked hard to secure billions of dollars for VA programs that provide these services so our veterans can access the proper care. Having served a twenty-year career in the Navy and deployed overseas, I know first-hand both the physical and mental toll that military service can have on a servicemember. That is why I have supported numerous bills I believe will better serve our veterans and servicemembers.

I co-led the introduction of the VA Zero Suicide Demonstration Project Act of 2023, with Representative Susie Lee (D-NV). This bill requires the VA to establish the Zero Suicide Initiative pilot program to improve safety and suicide care for veterans. The program must be implemented at five VA medical centers, including one that serves veterans in rural and remote areas. I'm a cosponsor of the Major Richard Star Act, which allows combat-disabled veterans with less than 20 years of service to concurrently receive VA disability compensation and retired pay or combat-related compensation. I am also a proud cosponsor of the Captain James C. Edge Gold Star Spouse Equity Act, which prohibits the termination of annuity payments authorized by the Survivor Benefit Plan for gold star spouses who choose to remarry before the age of 55. 

Additionally, I'm a proud cosponsor of the Vet CENTERS for Mental Health Act of 2023, which requires the VA to maintain a minimum number of Vet Centers in every state. Vet Centers are community-based counseling centers that provide mental health and social services to eligible veterans, service members, and their families. 

I was proud to vote in favor of the Senate’s version of the Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022, which was signed into law on August 10, 2022. This legislation expands VA health care benefits to more than 3.5 million post 9/11 veterans exposed to toxic substances, increases funding for new medical facilities across the U.S., adds 23 burn pit and toxic-exposure related conditions to the VA’s list of service presumptions, makes investments in VA claims processing and workforce, and expands coverage and treatment options for veterans exposed to Agent Orange.


For more information concerning work and views related to Veterans issues, please contact my office.