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Local veteran fighting to cut red tape to help those exposed to Agent Orange

Two U.S. Senators blocked debate of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act in the final days before the federal government shutdown, according to Senator Richard Blumenthal.  Connecticut veterans have vowed to continue the fight in the new year. 

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act will remove obstacles veterans have faced in qualifying for health care and benefits for conditions resulting from toxic chemical exposure during their service aboard Navy ships in Vietnam. Since 2002, only veterans serving within the land boundaries of Vietnam are presumed to have health conditions resulting from chemical exposure Agent Orange.

Eugene Clark of Redding was drafted in 1966, practiced for Vietnam and was then sent to Korea.  He says these veterans are getting sicker by the day and there aren't many of them left.

As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Blumenthal co-sponsored the Senate measure.  The bill also includes legislation backed by Blumenthal to ensure that all veterans exposed to toxic substances who served in the Korean DMZ from September 1, 1967 to August 31, 1971 also receive timely access to health care and benefits.

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Jim Bohannon

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