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Rep. August Pfluger makes first stop at Fort Hood, talks 2023 defense bill

Pfluger on Fort Hood
Posted at 9:33 PM, Dec 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-09 22:33:13-05

FORT HOOD, Texas — Congressman August Pfluger (TX-11) paid a visit to Fort Hood on Friday as western Bell County becomes part of his district starting in the new year.

Pfluger, an air force veteran, spoke with service members and toured post on Friday morning.

"We have a mission to get done, and that mission involves representing the men and women in our community that are keeping our country safe," Pfluger told reporters after exiting Fort Hood.

Pfluger said as a former service member himself, he's able to understand the issues that impact military families.

His visit comes the day after he voted in favor of the House defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, for next year.

The $858 billion bill raises military pay, revokes a COVID-19 vaccine mandate and continues reform for the military's handling of sexual harassment claims.

Pfluger touted that the bill includes millions of dollars that would be directed to Fort Hood, including funding to improve the post's housing.

The bill also takes sexual harassment investigations out of the immediate chain of command and instead, gives it to a trained investigator. It comes in addition to similar efforts in 2022 as a part of the 'I Am Vanessa Guillen' Act, which was included in the NDAA.

"I think that we can achieve that justice, we can achieve that transparency in that due process system, while also focusing on the mission," Pfluger said when asked about the provision.

Military law expert and Southwestern Law School professor, Rachel VanLandingham, told 25 News on Friday that the change is a small step towards the reform needed.

"I think eventually, that general direction will be followed, of professionalizing the entire system," VanLandigham said. "Instead of these tiny piecemeal changes because we had to do something."

Pfluger told reporters he plans to open a full-time office in Killeen in January, as his district stretches from Bell County to Odessa.