WASHINGTON, DC - In an interview on Minnesota Military Radio, Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06) gave an update on how Congress is working to improve the lives of veterans and their families in Minnesota and across the country. Listen here.
As the representative of over 40,000 veterans in his district, and over 335,0000 veterans in the state, Congressman Emmer is a co-sponsor of the VA Care in the Community Act (H.R. 4242) which consolidates Department of Veterans Affairs' existing community care programs into one cohesive program. Learn more about the VA Care in the Community Act here.
Listen to the full interview here and check out the 5 Top Takeaways below.
1. On the vacant VA Secretary position: "The VA Secretary serves at the will of the President. We'll hear the new name soon. Regardless of what you think, the appointment process has never been more acrimonious than it is now. Republican presidents, Democrat presidents, by now had all of their people installed and this administration has just been thwarted every step of the way." Listen here.
2. On getting our veterans the best care: "How do we honor the promise? People have signed up to protect our freedom both here and around the world. When they come home, and this is part of the deal, they need help. And when they need that help they need to have a top notch facility that is rivaled by no one. They should have access to private sector choices as well as the great VA services we have." Listen here.
3. On veterans issues being partisan: "It better not be. Anybody who is listening I hope understands that when we get to Washington, D.C. whether we are elected as a Republican or a Democrat, there are some issues that are not about a political party. This [veterans] is an American issue. People who put the uniform on, people who put their life at risk, their families who make this sacrifice right alongside them, these people are entitled to our highest attention and strongest work." Listen here.
4. On Congress moving to rebuild the military: "This is always front and center to me. Obviously I have a son in the Navy... I get so frustrated in Washington, D.C. I am pleased right now we are in the process of providing the funds that are so desperately needed to restore our military readiness... People don't understand that freedom is not free... This Congress, I am pleased to say, has been moving in that direction for the first time in several years. If you're going to send young people out into the field, they better have the equipment they need, training they deserve so they are the best prepared fighting force in the world. We better make sure that happens because we want them to come home. And we haven't had that in recent years. We have lost more young people in training accidents in the last two years than we've lost in combat. That is what has to change." Listen here.
5. On veterans suicide: "We lose approximately 22 veterans and one active duty soldier every day. This is not just an incident. This is a crisis we need to address in this country. It's a lot about bringing awareness, it's a lot about getting our soldiers, our veterans back into the mainstream so they can feel good about themselves so they aren't isolated. Last week we had the Congressional Hockey game with the Wounded Warriors. These guys are studs. They don't want a favor... It was a great game but the purpose of it is to draw these wonderful veterans into the mainstream, let them know there is a support network here. We want to help. These are our friends. These are the people who we counted on to protect us and so we need to protect them now." Listen here.
ABOVE: Emmer in studio with radio host and Vietnam veteran Tom Lyons.
Listen to the full interview here.
About Minnesota Military Radio: With a team of producers from the Minnesota National Guard, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Minneapolis V.A., volunteer host and Vietnam veteran Tom Lyons strives to inform and entertain listeners in this weekly syndicated radio show and podcast. Click here to learn where and how to listen, including the full schedule and coverage map.