Rep. Al Lawson Introduces Bill to Establish Veterans Hospital in Jacksonville
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Al Lawson (FL-05) has introduced H.R. 6285, the VETS Act, to authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a veteran’s hospital in Jacksonville, Fla. The legislation would provide vital care and resources to the North Florida veteran community.
“Veterans require care for various health services and treatment, and establishing a new Jacksonville VA Hospital would allow these needs to be met for our veterans within the Jacksonville and Duval County region,” Rep. Lawson said. “We must recognize and honor veterans’ sacrifices by providing them with the best care possible.”
In June, Rep. Lawson hosted a roundtable discussion at a Jacksonville VA clinic with local veterans who shared their concerns regarding the lack of access to health care. Currently, veterans in the Jacksonville area are required to travel more than 60 miles to the nearest VA hospitals, which are in Lake City and Gainesville, for specialized services as well as emergency care.
Jacksonville has one of the highest veteran populations in the nation and VA healthcare is in high demand in the Jacksonville region. Rep. Lawson, whose father was a World War II veteran, has devoted much of his career to advocating for veterans by providing employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, job training programs, access to health care, education benefits and affordable housing options.
He has sponsored several pieces of legislation, including H.R. 3345, the Veterans Jobs Opportunity Act that will allow for a tax credit for veterans who open small businesses in underserved communities. He also introduced a resolution to create National Women Veterans Recognition Week to honor women veterans, and a bill to provide job training to veterans. Additionally, Rep. Lawson hosted a public briefing on Capitol Hill with Jacksonville Rep. John Rutherford to address the critical issue of mental health within the veteran community.