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Congressman Tony Cardenas

Representing the 29th District of California

Congressional Veterans Advisory Committee

I am committed to serving our Veterans in Washington, reducing the backlog in our VA Hospital system and ensuring that we maintan the promise that our nation has made to those who protected, and who continue to protect, our nation and our freedoms. I can't do it alone though. With the needs of our Veterans in mind, I've created a Veterans Advisory Committee in the 29th Congressional District. These men and women have been, and will continue to be, honorable public servants. In their new role, they will be both a conduit for the concerns of Veterans in the San Fernando Valley, and advocates, who will let me know what needs to change in our system, to properly honor those who have served.

If you have an issue that you feel the Veterans Advisory Committee needs to address, you can email the Committee at cardenasvets@mail.house.gov.

 

MEET THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE

 

Jorge Betito, USAF - Serving in the United States Air Force for seven years, SSgt. Betito was the Commander's Administrative Assistant, mail distribution clerk, client support technician, and information manager. He became the bridge for junior enlisted for improving morale and living conditions while stationed at Osan Air Base, Korea. In October 2014, Mr. Betito completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration: Major in Marketing Management. In addition, SSgt. Betito participated in leadership programs that helped him hone his leadership skills and developed his passion for helping others.

Olivia Chavez, USAR - Olivia is a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and Founder of the Veteran Awareness Project. She was selected as Veteran of the Year for the Los Angeles 6th Council District by Councilwoman Nury Martinez for 2014 and selected as Veteran of the Year for the 39th Assembly District by Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra in 2013. She is a native of San Fernando, California. She began her military career in July 1992 with the United States Marine Corps, completing Boot Camp at Parris Island, South Carolina. Upon completion of her first her eight-year enlistment, Capt Chavez returned to the San Fernando Valley and earned her Associate of Arts Degree in Political Science from Los Angeles Pierce College in Woodland Hills, California. Commissioned at the Palmetto Military Academy in South Carolina, she went on to become the first Latina Aviator and CH-47 Chinook Helicopter Pilot for the state of South Carolina in its history. She then deployed with the 2/238th Bravo Company from the South Carolina Army National Guard as the only Latina pilot in Afghanistan. She earned an Air Medal during her tour.

Ramon Contreras, USMC - Ramon “Rey” Contreras is a native of the northeast San Fernando Valley. Rey lives in Pacoima with his wife and their six children. As a former United States Marine Corps Sargent, Rey served honorably from 2000-2004, in Japan, 29 Palms and Iraq. While stationed in 29 Palms, Rey was deployed with 7th Marines in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom I in January 2003. Since leaving active duty, Rey has been an active member of the Veteran community, helping fellow Veterans obtain education, service connection and medical benefits. While pursuing his education, Rey used his VA education benefits to earn an AA from Los Angeles Mission College and his BA in History from UCLA. Rey is working on his Masters in Social Work from USC, which he hopes to use as a tool to continue his service to Veteran community.

Lisa Raggio - Lisa is the co-founder and administrator of the Veterans Coalition of Glendale and the Verdugos as well as Chair of the coalition's Female Veterans working committee. In addition, she chairs the Female Veterans committee for the YWCA Regional Advocacy council. Raggio created the YWCA of Glendale’s "Focus on Female Veterans" program launched in 2012 where she served as Senior Director of Community Services, Development and Communications. Raggio is a proud and privileged sister, sister in law, granddaughter and niece of service members who served from World War II up to 9/11. Raggio is the Executive Director of The Veterans Awareness Project. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from CSUN with an emphasis in Human Dynamics and Leadership.

Keith Jeffreys, USA - Former Army Special Forces member Keith Jeffreys, is the Founder/Executive Director of the United States Veteran Artists Alliance.

 

 

 

 

Eduardo Tinoco, USA - A first-generation college student, Eduardo Tinoco holds a Master of Library and Information Science Degree from San Jose State University, a Bachelor of Arts Degree, in English, from California State University, Northridge and is currently pursuing his Doctorate of Education studies at the USC Rossier School of Education, with a concentration on Higher Education.  Prior to pursuing his education, Ed served with the United States Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment and continues to remain active with many veterans’ groups at USC and beyond. Ed brings close to twenty years of experience in the academic, corporate and entertainment industry sectors to his faculty position in the USC Libraries. Ed is a life-member of several veterans' groups that include the US Army Ranger Association (USARA), the 75th Ranger Regiment Association (75th RRA), Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) where he also serves on the Board of Directors of the PVA Research Foundation.