The tradition of women and men answering the call of duty runs deep in New Mexico's history. Many times our state has had the highest rate of military volunteerism in the country. Their unwavering devotion and extraordinary courage reflect the core principles we share as Americans.

One of my most important responsibilities as your Senator is to keep America's promise to our service members and their families so that when our troops return home, they receive the benefits that they have earned.

As a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, I proudly fought to ensure surviving spouses receive the benefits their loved ones earned defending our country. I supported efforts to increase access to state-of-the-art health care for our veterans and assistance to veteran-owned small businesses.

As your Senator, I am working to help reduce the disability claims backlog, collaborating with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to work with community-based outpatient clinics across New Mexico to ensure their needs continue to be met. In addition I've cosponsored legislation that would allow veterans to receive both their retirement pay and full disability compensation.

We must be unwavering in our commitment to our men and women in uniform who deserve more than just words of gratitude for their sacrifice when they return home. We owe our veterans the quality care and benefits that they have earned.