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This is a joint project between Nexstar Media Group and Syracuse University.
MANCHESTER, N.H. (NEXSTAR) – Over the past week in New Hampshire, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said she plans to support service members, veterans, and their families by expanding Veteran Affair’s healthcare, as well as implementing telehealth into treatment plans to make it more accessible.
In addition, she addressed the high rate of homelessness among veterans, and the need to support them after they return home.
“We’ve made progress with the VA, I get my healthcare from them. But, I think she’s right that if we had more conversations things would get better,” said Roy Hunter, 54, a U.S Army veteran.
Paul Gonsalves is a Naval veteran who originally was a Chris Christie supporter, but switched his vote to Haley after the former New Jersey governor suspended his campaign.
During Haley’s visit to a local diner that afternoon, he was able to speak one-one-one with the former ambassador about military families and their needs.
“We were talking about military families and I asked about how her husband was doing and military spouses – my wife did it for about 30 years,” Gonsalves said. “As far as I’m concerned, the spouses are the real heroes, they’re the ones who hold down the fort.”
Haley has been vocal about her role as a military spouse on several occasions during her time in New Hampshire.
“When you have a loved one deployed, it’s your lone prayer that they just come back home to you safely,” Haley said.
For Gonsalves, Haley’s personal experience having a loved one in the military was impactful, but her pledge to solve veteran’s homelessness was a key factor as well.
“We have a lot of veterans who are on the street that are homeless, and that’s inexcusable,” Gonsalves said. “What they’ve done for their country, we should feel ashamed to have them living like that.”
“The number one question we have to ask ourselves is what our responsibility is as citizens.”
Eden Stratton is a senior Journalism and Political Science student at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University and has interned with the War Horse and the USA Today Network.