US Senator Thom Tillis makes several stops in Pitt, Martin Counties

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US Senator Thom Tillis visited several places in the East Friday, making stops in Pitt and Martin Counties.

Senator Tillis started his day talking with business leaders at the Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce.

He sent out this tweet, after the chamber gave him the Commerce Spirit of Enterprise Award.

He made several stops in Greenville — including Aces for Autism — The East Carolina Vocational Center — and the Greenville VA.

Tillis says helping veterans is the most important then he does.

North Carolina is top 4 on the list of states with the most veterans.

Tillis said, “What we are doing right now is trying to make investments in places like this, so we can care for that growing veteran population.”

Tillis says they need to reach the veteran population that isn’t being served.

Tillis said, “An average of every veterans commit suicide every day, half have no affiliation with the VA.”

Steps have been taken to provide mental health coverage to anyone regardless of discharge status.

Tillis said, “We wanna help but sometimes we don’t know who needs the help”

He says that’s where community members and government needs to reach out to one another.

Tillis said, “If they had that contact, that mental health treatment, maybe we can save them.”

Another stop on the Greenville tour is Aces for Autism Child Development Center.

Tillis says this is an area the state needs to work on because there are not enough resources available across the state.

Tillis said, “We’re making progress in certain areas but this is giving parents an ability to access therapy this is literally transformational.”

Erica Cooper is the clinical supervisor at Aces.

She said, “A lot of times when you see autism on TV, its little kids with milder issues but we work with older kids, we work with severe behavior.”

Cooper says right now the state has a need for more behavior analysts —- they say North Carolina is behind many other states because most states accept a national certification where North Carolina requires more.

There is a bill that passed the State House that would clear that up, they hope it’ll pass the Senate as well.

Senator Tillis wrapped up his day in Martin County with a round table discussion with business owners in Williamston.

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