On Aug. 5, U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján joined members of the National Wildlife Federation and New Mexico veterans to fly fish in the Jemez Springs area. They discussed their priorities on veterans’ health needs and protecting public lands. Hosted by the National Wildlife Federation, this program connects veterans based on their experiences and interests in the outdoors as a way to promote healing.
Earlier this year, Senator Luján voted for the PACT Act, a vital piece of legislation that will provide 3.5 million veterans health care coverage for treating toxin-exposure related health injuries. Senator Luján also joined New Mexico Democrats to announce that community-based outpatient clinics (CBOC) in New Mexico are no longer in jeopardy of closing, allowing veterans to continue accessing health care services at the CBOCs in New Mexico in Gallup, Las Vegas, Española, and Raton.
“New Mexico’s veterans have always had our back, and it was an honor to spend a day in the great outdoors with them to learn how I can support them in return,” Luján said. “Yesterday’s experience showed me the mindfulness that you get from fly fishing—promoting wellness and connecting a small group of veterans through their shared experiences. I want to commend the National Wildlife Federation for this program. I’ve been proud of the work the Senate has done in passing the PACT Act and stopping the closures of health care services in rural areas. Our work is far from over; I will continue to fight for robust funding for rural and mental health care, find more opportunities to streamline the VA, and provide our veterans with the tools they need to find a good-paying job and be successful.”