February 07, 2023

Rep. Takano Announces Richard Valdez as Guest to the State of the Union

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has announced veteran advocate Richard Valdez as his guest to the State of the Union.

“I am honored to have a constituent and proud Marine, Richard Valdez, join me as my guest to the State of the Union. Richard has dedicated his life to serving our country and advocating for veterans in our community,” said Rep. Mark Takano. “Richard’s brother-in-law sadly passed away because of radiation exposure during his military service, an exposure now recognized because of the PACT Act. 

“Richard’s advocacy was instrumental in my efforts as Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee to pass the Honoring our PACT Act. The PACT Act will make a difference in the lives of millions of veterans who suffer from the effects of toxic exposure to Burn Pits, Agent Orange, as well as exposure to radiation and other toxic hazardous materials due to their service and the surviving families of those lost to their conditions associated with these exposures. I look forward to hearing how President Biden plans to continue to make our veterans a priority in his State of the Union Address.”  

Richard Valdez is a long-time Southern California resident and a proud Marine. He served with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division during the Vietnam War and was wounded in combat at age 19 in 1967. Later after being discharged from the Marines, he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, did graduate work in Management from the University of Redlands, and received a Certificate of Completion in Government Contracts Management from UCLA's Management Program, all during his career in the aerospace industry which he retired from after 35 years.

Richard was Honorably Discharged from the Marine Corps as a Corporal with the following medals and citations awarded him for his service during the Vietnam War: the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, the Presidential Unit Citation, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. He most recently served as the Legislative Director for the Disabled American, Department of California. Richard also served as the Disabled American Veterans, California State Commander, and the San Bernardino Disabled American Veterans Chapter 12 Commander. Richard is a staunch veteran advocate who works tirelessly to ensure that the men and women who’ve served this country receive the benefits they deserve.  

"I am honored to attend the State of the Union as the guest of my Congressman, Mark Takano,” said Richard Valdez. “I am a proud veteran from a family that has committed ourselves to military service for every major US conflict since World War I. Thank you, Representative Takano for your support for all veterans, particularly the toxic-exposed, through the enactment of the Honoring our PACT Act." 

Ranking Member Takano’s Honoring our PACT ACT is the largest expansion of veterans’ benefits in generations. Signed into law by President Biden in August 2022, this law provides benefits to over 3.5 million veterans who suffer from exposure to Agent Orange, burn pits, and toxic chemicals during their service. The PACT Act is the most comprehensive legislation to date to treat toxic exposure as a cost of war and ensures that all toxic-exposed veterans can access the care and welfare they’ve earned through their service and heroism.