EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine – A congressman who takes pride in his service to veterans was named the new ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud of East Millinocket assumes his position immediately due to the recent resignation of California U.S. Rep. Bob Filner, a Democrat from San Diego who is now that city’s mayor, officials said.
“I’m humbled and honored to be named to this position, and I thank my colleagues for the support they’ve given me,” Michaud said in a statement released Wednesday. “While we’ve come a long way over the last few years, much work remains.”
“Whether it’s veteran employment, VA claims backlogs, or the latest health care needs, our veterans deserve a committee that will deliver results,” the 2nd District congressman added. “I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to live up to our shared commitment to those that served and gave up so much on behalf of us all.”
One of Michaud’s colleagues on the committee, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., praised his selection as ranking member.
“This isn’t a red issue or blue issue, it’s an American issue,” said Walz, a 24-year U.S. National Guard veteran who is the highest-ranking enlisted soldier to ever serve in Congress. “No one understands this better than Rep. Michaud. Over the years, he’s proven time and time again to be a steady, staunch advocate for our nation’s veterans, and I’m proud he’ll be serving as ranking member of this committee.”
Maine has the second largest population of veterans per capita in the country, and Michaud said he has consistently made improving the services provided to veterans a priority.
He has helped a number of veterans bills become law, including legislation to expand access to care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, improve reimbursement rates for state veterans homes, and provide additional resources to the caregivers of veterans. Michaud was also a leading advocate of advanced appropriations for VA health care, an updated GI Bill, and historic increases in funding for the VA, his office said in a press release.
Michaud was re-elected last month with 58 percent of the vote, defeating Republican challenger and state Senate President Kevin Raye of Perry.