Suzanne Scholte, GOP Congressional candidate running in Virginia’s 11th District, hosted a veteran’s Town Hall to help America’s Heroes on 4 August that included Congressman Rob Wittman, from Virginia’s 1st District, and Dr. Johnnie Simpson, Veterans for Scholte (Chairman). The town hall was called to let local veterans know their VA concerns are being heard and addressed. Suzanne Scholte, a long time Veterans advocate, described the treatment veterans have received from the VA a “national disgrace” and that we all need to work together to solve the myriad of problems within the VA. Several veterans thanked Ms. Scholte for holding the event, as they never received responses from CM Gerry Connolly’s office despite many requests for help.
CM Wittman, himself a retired Colonel, described GOP efforts to pass the Veterans Reform Bill, which was later signed by Pres. Obama on Thursday 7 August. The new law allows the Veteran Affairs Secretary an easier path to fire bad employees with the focus on removing Senior Executive Service employees, who are the VA’s leadership core. It also allows veterans who have been waiting longer than 14 days the ability to go to private doctors for medical care rather than wait in a tragically broken VA system that caused as many as 1000 veteran deaths, according to Sen. Coburn.
Dr. Simpson stated that veterans need a way to fight bad VA employees, and should have the ability to select/change their VA doctors without fear of retribution. He also thanked Suzanne Scholte for her long time support for America’s veterans.
Many of them stood up and voiced their concerns, sharing personal horror stories dealing with the VA system for themselves, or injured family members. Some veterans spoke with eloquence that as great as the 1000 death statistic is, far more veterans are committing suicide, and focus on that problem is tragically lacking.
Congressman Wittman summed up his solutions to veterans’ health care problems. The solution isn’t money, he stated, since the VA turns money back in each year. The beginning of the solution is the Veterans Reform Bill, but the full solution will take a very long time and continued focus. It will require reducing the scope of work that the VA system is responsible for to general medicine, and sending veterans to private care specialists for follow on treatment.
Thanks to Suzanne Scholte for organizing and hosting the Town Hall.