Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet issued the following statement regarding President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.
Bennet was joined tonight by Vietnam veteran Wayne Telford of Grand Junction. Wayne has worked to raise awareness about the warning signs and high rate of suicide among Veterans ever since his daughter, U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Brooke Leigh Caffrey, committed suicide in 2012. Last year, Wayne served on a panel of mental health experts, service providers, and veterans commissioned by Senator Bennet to address the issue.
“Tonight, the President identified a number of challenges that we need to address. People across Colorado want us to focus on bipartisan solutions that will help grow the economy, get people back to work, and leave more opportunity to the next generation.
“One area where we can make progress is immigration. The Senate passed a bipartisan bill to fix our broken immigration system and strengthen our economy. The House of Representatives should pass this bill so it can be signed into law. It’s also time for both parties to work with one another to create a 21st century energy policy, update our antiquated tax code, and improve our system of public education.
“It was good to hear the push for respecting the roles that women play in the workforce through pay and flexibility for those who need to balance work with care for their families. It’s past time we close these gaps.
“And I’m happy the president highlighted a commitment to our returning veterans. One of the most important challenges we face in the years to come is making sure our soldiers returning home from war have a support system in place to transition back to civilian life. That’s why we invited Wayne Telford to attend the speech tonight. His story reminds us that we have more work to do, especially in identifying the warning signs of depression and suicide. His commitment to making things better in the face of his own tragedy embodies the spirit and determination that defines those who serve in our military.”