Nothing illustrates the character of this country more than how it cares for its veterans. The emotional scars of service make it especially important that this nation provides quality mental health services to its heroes.

Veterans centers do just that, providing convenient, community-based counseling to veterans to keep them, their families and their communities safe.

That’s why I was so concerned when I learned that half of the positions at the Lewiston Veteran Center, located on Westminster Street, had long gone unfilled, leaving veterans without the necessary counseling services they were promised, earned and deserve.

I thank Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald for bringing to my attention the unacceptable staffing shortages and their devastating effect on local veterans.

A retired U.S. Marine who served this country in Vietnam and later the city of Lewiston as a long-time member of the Lewiston Police Department, Mayor Macdonald knows just how important the Lewiston Veteran Center’s services are.

Because of his advocacy on behalf of his fellow servicemen and women, I’ve been able to work hard, along with Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to fix the problem and now those long-vacant positions will finally be filled so area veterans can access the counseling they need.

I am honored to represent the more than 66,000 veterans in Maine’s Second Congressional District and I look forward to continuing to work hard with local leaders, such as Mayor Macdonald, to ensure this nation keeps its promises to them.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, 2nd District

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