(4/2/2004) Wohlgemuth Addresses Veterans Issues
For Immediate Release
For Information Contact:
Todd Smith (512) 658-9699
Gina Hollenbeck (979) 224-2951
Waco, TX— Today, State Representative and Republican front runner in the race for Congress in the newly drawn 17th District announced the formation of a Veterans Advisory Board to assist her in addressing issues important to veterans both during her campaign and, once elected, during her service in the Congress. Wohlgemuth made the announcement surrounded by a group of central Texas veterans who have endorsed her campaign.
Wohlgemuth said that numbering 60,000, veterans comprise about 18% of the population of the 17th Congressional District of Texas. Of those 60,000 veterans, about 21,000 reside in McLennan County alone. She said that sheer numbers make Waco the epicenter of the Veterans issues debate in the 17th District, with the Waco VA hospital and Veterans Healthcare being a focus of those discussions.
During the press conference, Wohlgemuth vowed to join leaders like Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Senator John Cornyn, in their fight to keep the Waco VA hospital open. Wohlgemuth identified the large number of Veterans in Central Texas and the location of the Waco VA hospital as key reasons for keeping the facility open, saying, “The Waco VA Hospital plays a critical role in providing many of our Veterans with high quality healthcare at an easily accessible, centralized location.” In accordance with her conservative track record, Wohlgemuth suggested that the money which would be spent to relegate Veterans services to Austin and other population centers be used instead to modernize and upgrade the Waco hospital in order to make it an even better facility.
Wohlgemuth said that instead of closing the Waco facility, as has been suggested by the Veterans Administration, the VA should instead focus on savings by eliminating waste and inefficiency system wide. Wohlgemuth cited the unsatisfactory performance of the Veterans Administration on 3 of 5 Government Agency Evaluation Criteria Established in the Government Performance Results Act as evidence of the VA’s failure to provide quality services to American Veterans. As the first step in addressing the problems caused by the shortfalls of the Veterans Administration, Wohlgemuth announced the establishment of a Veterans Advisory Board. The Veterans Advisory Board, comprised of Veterans district wide will serve in a consultation capacity to Wohlgemuth as she begins to address the concerns of Veterans during the next 7 months, and once she is in Congress. Wohlgemuth, who proved the feasibility and success of re-forming government to deliver quality health care services during her time in the Texas Legislature, sees a need for reformation of the Veterans Administration.
“I am calling on the wisdom and experience of the Veterans of this District,” Wohlgemuth said, “there are a complexity of issues affecting veterans health care and benefits and the answers will not be easy to come by. I firmly believe that Congress must work hand in hand with Veterans and health care professionals at the community level in order to reach long-term, feasible solutions to the problems faced by Veterans.”
On the web: http://www.arleneforcongress.com