Burr, Tillis highlight military, veterans gains for 2015

U.S. Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) recently recapped their 2015 legislative and policy gains for veterans and the military in North Carolina, noting that key gains have been made but that work remains.

“2015 represented a number of legislative gains for both military installations and organizations in North Carolina, as well as national gains for veterans and active duty personnel,” Burr said. “Senator Tillis and I worked together to maintain North Carolina’s status as a premier military hub by successfully securing additional capabilities at Seymour Johnson Air Base (NC) as well as the preservation of the 440th Airlift Wing at Fort Bragg (NC). It’s critical for both North Carolina and the country to continue to support our Special Operations Forces, given the current terrorist threats to both the homeland and our allies overseas.”

The Seymour Johnson Air Base was selected as the preferred alternative for the basing of the KC-46A tanker fleet following support from Burr, Tillis and other members of Congress, while more work by Burr and Tillis ensured that the 440th Airlift Wing is maintained. The senators worked to introduce and pass an amendment requiring the Air Force to validate its plan to close the 440th Airlift Wing, postponing any Air Force action to Sept. 30.

“Additionally, I continued to fight for justice on issues such as those affected by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune (NC) and those vets across the country who were finally granted disability status from illnesses caused by Agent Orange exposure in C-123s planes over Vietnam and afterwards,” Burr said. “The Military Sex Offender Reporting Act of 2015 was signed into law this year and closed a loophole that predators have used to evade law enforcement detection for years. 2015 was a productive year for our efforts to make a difference in NC and nationally and I’m proud of our accomplishments.”

Under the Military Sex Offender Reporting Act of 2015, introduced by Burr, the Department of Defense must directly report sex offenders convicted or punished under article 47 of the Uniform Military Code of Justice to the National Sex Offender Registry.

“Senator Burr and I worked hard this past year to preserve and strengthen North Carolina’s rich military tradition and advocate on behalf of the more than 800,000 North Carolinians who have honorably served our nation,” Tillis said. “We fought against the Pentagon’s strategically flawed attempt to shutter the 440th Airlift Wing at Pope Airfield, and I was proud to join Jerry Ensminger, Senator Burr, and the Camp Lejeune Community Assistance Panel in the successful effort to pressure the VA to provide a level of justice for the victims of toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune. While 2015 resulted in several key victories for our state’s military and veteran communities, there is still more to be done, and I look forward to continue working with Senator Burr and the rest of the North Carolina Congressional delegation to deliver more results for our great state.”

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