Murkowski Introduces Legislation to Support Alaska’s Veterans

Anchorage, AK – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today announced two legislative efforts to support Veterans and their families, which have garnered widespread support from Alaska’s veteran organizations.

Senator Murkowski introduced, with U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) as a cosponsor, the Colonel Mary Louise Rasmuson Campus of the Alaska VA Healthcare System Act of 2022 to name the Alaska VA Clinic after the late Colonel Mary Louise Rasmuson—a leader in the Women’s Army Corps who helped expand opportunities for women serving in the military, including integrating Black women into the corps.

Senator Murkowski also responded to Alaskan veteran’s concerns surrounding a lack of health long term care options for veterans by cosponsoring the Elizabeth Dole Home and Community Based Services for Veterans and Caregivers Act. This bill aims to delay the need to send veterans to long-term institutional care by expanding access to quality home and community-based programs and increasing coordination efforts.

“Colonel Mary Louise Rasmuson is a well-known name in Alaska. She spent her life advocating for women in the military and expanding their opportunities within the service. Following her twenty-year military career, Mary Louise continued that same level of service as a civic leader and philanthropist for the betterment of our Alaska communities. It’s fitting that we not only honor her legacy of service, but also the growing number of female veterans she fought on behalf of throughout her distinguished career. I’ve worked hard to ensure female veterans have equity to their male counterparts and access to the benefits they’ve earned. This bill builds on those efforts to ensure their service is explicitly recognized and well-represented in Alaska,” Senator Murkowski said. “I’m also proud to cosponsor the Elizabeth Dole Home and Community Based Services for Veterans and Caregivers Act. In Alaska, we are proud to have the highest rate of veterans per capita, which also includes a large population of aging and older veterans. This bill addresses a real need and expands access to care and community-based programs, making it easier for veterans to maintain their independence and get the care they need at home. Supporting all veterans remains one of my top priorities.”

Colonel Mary Louise Rasmuson Campus of the Alaska VA Healthcare System Act of 2022

“COL Mary Louise Rasmuson is proof our military women are not invisible. She served in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s when women did not normally serve and in doing so broke through many glass ceilings. Her efforts in gaining equality for all women in the military set the stage that push’s all equality standards we see today. Alaska is so honored to count COL Rasmuson as one of our state’s treasures, and I am so honored to support this renaming of the Alaska Campus after Colonel Mary Louise Rasmuson.”

- Verdie A. Bowen, Sr., Director, State of Alaska, Office of Veterans Affairs

“The American Legion, Department of Alaska, fully supports the legislation necessary to rename the Alaska VA Medical Center to the Colonel Mary Louise Rasmuson VA Campus. Colonel Rasmuson dedicated her time and energy to her military career and particularly to women in the military. Women veterans owe her a great debt for her activism in ensuring women had equal opportunities to serve. She served with great honor. And she was tireless in serving her Alaska community. It would be a privilege for Alaska to have the Alaska VA Medical Center named in her behalf.”

- Deborah Davis, Department Commander, the American Legion-Department of Alaska, U.S. Army, Retired

“Mary Louise was a trailblazer for women in the military and women veterans in Alaska and beyond. Her work lives on today in all of us, and we all stand on her shoulders as women and as veterans.”

- Vanessa Meade, Operation Mary Louise, Project Coordinator

Elizabeth Dole Home and Community Based Services for Veterans and Caregivers Act

“Thank you Senator Murkowski for supporting Alaska Veterans and their caregivers.  Whether in Alaska's Pioneer Homes or their own, knowing you are taken care of is so reassuring.”

- Bob Pawlowski, Board Chair, Alaska Pioneer Homes Advisory Board

Related Issues: Veterans