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Standing Up for Our Veterans

As a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, the son of a World War II veteran, and a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, service is personal to Gary. One of his top priorities in the Senate has been ensuring veterans in Michigan and across the country can successfully transition back to civilian life and access the care they deserve. Our nation’s heroes had our back – and Gary has worked to make sure we have theirs.

Veterans Apprenticeships

In March 2020, Gary’s bipartisan bill to expand apprenticeship opportunities for veterans was signed into law. The Support for Veterans in Effective Apprenticeships Act will allow more veterans to use their GI benefits towards apprenticeships. Previously, in Michigan alone, only a few hundred of the 1,000 registered apprenticeships listed as active by the Department of Labor were approved by the VA. Gary partnered with Rick Donovan – a Michigan veteran in Oakland County and State Legislative Officer for the Polish Legion of American Veterans Department of Michigan – on this bill after Donovan reached out to Gary to discuss the lack of apprenticeships that qualify under GI Bill benefits. 

Fairness for Veterans

In December 2016, Gary’s Fairness for Veterans Act was signed into law as part of the annual national defense bill. Gary’s bipartisan bill helps veterans who may have been erroneously given a less than honorable discharge from the military due to behavior resulting from mental traumas such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). That discharge had made them ineligible for certain benefits, including Post-9/11 G.I. Bill educational benefits and VA home loans.

Under Gary’s bill, the military must now give liberal consideration to petitions for changes in discharge status to “honorable” if the servicemember has been diagnosed with PTSD, TBI or related conditions in connection with their military service. Because of Gary’s work on this issue, he was recognized as Legislator of the Year by the Vietnam Veterans of America in August 2017. Gary built on this bill in 2023 by introducing the Discharge Review Board Accountability Act – a bipartisan bill to improve review board compliance with the Fairness for Veterans Act and several other existing Department of Defense (DoD) memoranda by directing the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study and report recommendations back to Congress on how to ensure fair consideration is implemented.


In July 2022, Gary helped pass the bipartisan Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. The landmark law provides all generations of veterans who have been exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances with essential VA benefits. It also provides crucial assistance to their surviving family. The PACT Act expanded VA health care eligibility to millions of post-9/11 combat veterans; added 23 health conditions related to burn pit and toxic-exposure to the VA’s list of service presumptions; strengthened federal research on toxic exposure; and invested resources to improve VA claims processing, workforce, and health care facilities. As of July 2023, nearly 17,000 Michigan veterans have applied for expanded VA benefits through the PACT Act.