Rep. Lipinski and Senator Kirk Hold Listening Session on VA Issues; Area Veterans and Employees Share Stories

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk came together Sunday afternoon to give veterans with experience in the VA healthcare system an opportunity to share their concerns.  For over two hours at VFW Post 2378 in Berwyn, the legislators listened as heroic veterans of all ages, current and former VA employees, and others shared their personal stories of frustration with government bureaucracy and the general level of care they have received from the VA.  Since the troubling reports started surfacing about secret waiting lists several weeks ago, both Lipinski and Kirk have led the charge on this issue.  
“The mistreatment of veterans at the VA has been shameful,” said Rep. Lipinski.  “Last week I regretfully called for the resignation of Secretary Shinseki.  He is an American hero, but considering what had occurred under his watch, a change in leadership was necessary.  But General Shinseki’s resignation is not the end; it is only the first step in cleaning up the VA and holding individuals accountable.  A comprehensive review and reform of the entire VA operation must begin immediately and not end until the system is fixed.  This listening session with Sen. Kirk is part of our efforts to review problems occurring locally so we can help make the needed changes.  The feedback of veterans is essential, and I encourage them to continue to step forward with their stories and recommendations.  We owe it to all of our veterans to fix the VA so that they get the care they deserve for protecting our freedoms.”
Since many area residents were unable to attend Sunday's program, Lipinski encourages them to reach out to his office to share their experiences working with the VA.  He has a staff member dedicated to answering the questions of veterans in the district.