Washington, Dec. 12 – In an exclusive interview with a coalition of disability groups including RespectAbility, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Sen. Lindsey Graham discussed his policies to help wounded veterans and other people with disabilities achieve the American Dream by entering the workforce.
“Never make a veteran pick from the dignity of work and benefits,” Graham said. “You can work and receive benefits too.”
Read the full transcript of Sen. Lindsey Graham’s interview with The RespectAbility Report:
The RespectAbility Report: We would love to know how you would help expand job opportunities for veterans returning from war who have become disabled and are now trying to enter the workforce but face stigma and are unable to do so?
Sen. Lindsey Graham: Well, number one, the ability to stay in the service after you have been severely wounded is at an all-time high. I want to tip my hat the medical professionals in the military and the contractors who have saved lives in this war that would not have been saved anywhere else. You have programs at the federal level, you have veteran’s preferences…just build on those.
First thing is to make sure they get an education. The G.I. Bill is very generous. Somebody who has been wounded, send them back to school to get a skill set that will allow them to be employable. So the first thing that you need to do for the veteran is get them the training that they need after their disability to allow them to find a niche in the workplace. And just as Commander-in-Chief, which I would be, be their voice. Show up to business roundtables and say: hire one of these guys or gals. Have them sitting up in front. I would have a group following me everywhere I went and I would say hire one of these guys, one of these gals. Just being their voice.
The RespectAbility Report: One barrier that they have is that they could lose some benefits if they then get a job. I know you have talked about this in the past, how would you ensure –
Sen. Lindsey Graham: Never make a veteran pick from the dignity of work and benefits. You can work and receive benefits too.
The RespectAbility Report: And is there anything else that you would like the disability community to know about how you as president would be able to help the disability community to obtain jobs and achieve the American dream?
Sen. Lindsey Graham: By being your advocate. By being your voice. By creating opportunities for you to go back into the workplace. Retraining…giving you the skillset that you need to find a niche in the economy. Taking existing programs and expanding them. More than anything else, be your voice.
The RespectAbility Report: Thank you very much.
Sen. Lindsey Graham: Thank you.