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McCaskill highlights veterans in Joplin campaign stop

Joplin Globe - 5/30/2018

May 30--Sen. Claire McCaskill said she is pretty sure she knows who is paying for unnamed campaign ads running against her.

"You know those ads that say, 'paid for by,' " McCaskill said Tuesday at a campaign stop in Joplin. "It's all third-party dark money. If they had to disclose who is paying for those, I'm sure a lot of them would be big pharma. ... I think a lot of Missourians would like the list of enemies I've made."

More than 30 people turned up for the campaign event Tuesday, held at IBEW Union Local 95's meeting hall on Main Street. A large majority of the crowd were veterans showing support for the senator, who is running for re-election this year.

McCaskill's tour over the next few days will focus on her record of serving military members, she said. She listed how her office has helped benefit veterans, from highlighting horrific treatment of patients at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to helping area veterans receive Purple Heart medals and other commendations owed to them.

She also highlighted work she has done to improve mileage reimbursement rates for rural veterans, improve college benefits of the GI Bill and resolve mislabeled graves at Arlington National Cemetery.

A recent bill she worked on is named for a soldier who served at Neosho'sCamp Crowder. The Arla Harrell Act, sponsored by McCaskill and co-sponsored by her Missouri counterpart Sen. Roy Blunt, was signed into law by President Donald Trump in August. The bill basically shifts the burden of proof from patients to the VA for treatment of symptoms related to the testing of mustard gas and other chemical weapons.

McCaskill said her work was not done in the Senate, either: She said she would fight to keep the VA from shifting to a privatized system. She last week voted for the VA Mission Act, a bipartisan bill that reforms the Veterans Choice program with expanded caregiver benefits and a new care program that consolidates existing programs and brings family doctors into the loop.

"There were many things I liked a lot," McCaskill said about the bill. "I'm a little concerned about the encroachment of privatization that is in the bill, but they didn't try to dismantle the VA system."

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican who was elected in 2016 and is considered the front-runner challenger for McCaskill's Senate seat, also announced veterans-related action in his campaign Tuesday. He announced the formation of a veterans advisory council to his campaign, a group of 18 veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The council will advise Hawley about veterans issues, according to a news release.


(c)2018 The Joplin Globe (Joplin, Mo.)

Visit The Joplin Globe (Joplin, Mo.) at www.joplinglobe.com

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