Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Democrats React To Shinseki Nomination

Some key Senate Democrats on the Veterans Affairs Committee were quick to offer positive comments on President-elect Barack Obama's excellent choice of former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki to head the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Here's some reaction:

Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

“General Shinseki is a decorated soldier who served the nation with honor and distinction for more than four decades. I applaud his selection as the next VA Secretary. General Shinseki will be a courageous and tireless advocate for our nation’s veterans.

"Today, the VA faces historically-high backlogs of claims as a new generation of veterans return from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is imperative that the VA increase outreach and programs designed to better address Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. And we must do more to ensure that veterans have access to a college education and good paying jobs. America’s veterans will have the leader they deserve when General Shinseki is sworn in as VA Secretary and I look forward to working with him and the Obama administration on behalf of Ohio’s one million veterans.”

Daniel Akaka (D-HI)

"General Shinseki is a great choice. He is well aware of the needs of our veterans and will make an excellent Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

"I've worked with him in the past and I look forward to working with him in the future.

"I have great respect for General Shinseki's judgment and abilities. I am confident that he will use his wisdom and experience to ensure that our veterans receive the respect and care they have earned in defense of our nation.

"President-Elect Obama is selecting a team that reflects our nation's greatest strength, its diversity, and I applaud him."

Patty Murray (D-WA)

“I have always said we need a VA Secretary who will be honest about what our veterans need and have the backbone to stand up and ask for it. America’s veterans deserve a truthful advocate and energetic leader who will break through the red tape and make veterans, not the bottom-line, the top priority of VA management. I am hopeful we’ll find both in General Shinseki.

“This is a critical time in the VA’s history. With our troops fighting overseas, veterans coming home every day, and countless more aging into the system, the VA is facing unprecedented challenges in providing quality care for all of our veterans. For too long, leaders at the VA have done the agency, its doctors and nurses and our veterans a disservice. Too many have been apologists for failed policies and bad budgets, rather than strong advocates for the heroes who have served and sacrificed for our nation.

“General Shinseki, himself, is a wounded combat veteran of the Vietnam war. He has put his country above politics and his reputation is one of honesty and courage. General Shinseki has shown the fortitude to speak truth to power and the vision to see and say what others could - or would - not. That is the type of honest advocate our veterans deserve."