WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) temporarily joined the House Veterans Affairs Committee to hear the testimony of Dr. Howard and Jean Somers, Coronado residents, at its hearing “Service Should Not Lead to Suicide: Access to VA’s Mental Health Care.” The Somers’ son Daniel suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) after serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and tragically committed suicide in June, 2013. Since their son’s death, the Somers have been tireless advocates for the need to fix the VA system, preparing a twenty-five page report with recommendations based on their experience and research.
“I want to thank Howard and Jean Somers—not only for their participation in today’s hearing, but for their continued leadership and advocacy on behalf of our veterans and their families,” Rep. Peters said. “Their work in the face of such a tragedy is an inspiration to all of us. I have never met any veterans’ advocates more dedicated to sharing their unique perspective, raising awareness for the invisible wounds our servicemembers suffer, and committed to making a major impact on the way we care for our veterans.
“The Somers’ experience highlights the unacceptable, systemic problems with the way the VA delivers care. As a country, we have failed these men and women, and their families, who sacrificed so much to serve. I look forward to continuing my work with the Somers to fix these problems and provide our brave man and women with the care they deserve.”
Watch Rep. Peters’ recognition of the Somers in the House Veterans Affairs Committee HERE.
Recently, Rep. Peters joined the Somers at their inaugural “Operation Engage America” event held in San Diego, an annual forum during PTSD Awareness Month to bring attention to PTS and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) by educating veterans about local resources.
Congressman Peters serves the 52nd District of California which covers much of central San Diego County including Poway, Coronado, and large portions of the City of San Diego. He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology. He was named the fourth most independent Democrat by National Journal last year. The Congressman is a former environmental attorney, City Council President, and Port Commission Chairman.