TUCSON – Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) welcomed House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Ranking Member Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) to a veterans’ roundtable and forum this past Saturday at Arizona American Legion Post 68 in Tucson. The events came two weeks after news broke that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Office of Inspector General (OIG), issued a Clinical Assessment Program Review (available here) of the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS) in Tucson that is widely critical of the facility’s operations. Among other topics discussed were the issues of veterans’ homelessness, mental healthcare, and employment opportunities after returning home. The lawmakers released the following statements.
“Thank you to Ranking Member Walz, American Legion Post 68, and everyone from Tucson’s veterans community who made our roundtable and forum so successful,” Rep. Grijalva said. “Military members and their families sacrifice so much in service to our country – upholding our commitments to veterans in return is the bare minimum our society can do. But as the recent SAVAHCS review makes clear, meeting those commitments is an ongoing challenge that we can never take lightly. The events we held on Saturday were a chance for our local veterans to express concerns directly to the Ranking Member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, and a chance for him to personally provide assurances about the issues that were raised. I am grateful for the substantive discussions, and remain committed to working with our local facilities and veterans groups to ensure every veteran receive the high-quality care and services they deserve.”
“Whether you live in Tucson, Arizona or Mankato, Minnesota, we all agree that taking care of veterans should be one of our highest priorities,” Rep. Walz said. “Our nation’s community of 22 million veterans are as diverse in experience as they are in identity; as such, the needs of a veteran living in one state will almost certainly be different from those of a veteran in a different state, and the only way we can uphold our duty to serve and protect both is if we attentively listen to each and every veteran.”