Honoring our heroes who have risked their lives for our freedom should be a no-brainer, especially for a politician who has the NAS Kingsville Navy Base and had NS Ingleside Navy Base in his district. Not for State Representative J.M. Lozano (R – Kingsville). Lozano filed HB 3766 to gut the Hazlewood Program, which allows veterans and their families access to higher education after their service.

Lozano, Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, initially filed a bill that would have denied thousands of Texas veterans and their families an opportunity to further their education. He retreated in the face of withering criticism from veterans groups.

For nearly a century, Texas has given these veterans the chance to receive tuition-free higher education after their military service. For some veterans with access to the GI Bill and others returning with traumatic brain injury, PTSD or other disabilities making it difficult for them to go to school, a 2009 update to the Hazlewood Program allowed them to pass on their unused benefits to one of their children.

Lozano’s bill sought to severely limit eligibility for the program and created an artificial expiration date of 15 years after leaving service, making it nearly impossible for many children to qualify. His bill was a slap in the face to the nearly 12,000 veterans living in House District 43, and the more than 1.5 million living in Texas and their families.

Instead of honoring our veterans who have served and protected our country, Lozano tried to cut costs at their expense. Lozano says he’s all for helping veterans, but actions speak louder than words, JM.