Monica Valdiviez, Commander Northern Capital Region Chapter, at the 2017 Memorial Day wreath laying ceremony in Washington DC.

Secretary Shulkin Delivers His First ‘State of the VA’ Address

WASHINGTON — Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin delivered his first “State of the VA” address today, highlighting the activity and direction of the agency since his appointment in February. In his address, Secretary Shulkin stated that he wanted to update Veterans on the progress the agency is making while also acknowledging the shortcomings that the VA has identified and will address in the upcoming months.

“As a physician, I tend to look at things in terms of the way I was trained — assess, diagnose and then aggressively treat the patient,” Secretary Shulkin said. “Though we are taking immediate and decisive steps, we are still in critical condition and require intensive care.”

The address covered a wide spectrum of issues within the VA, including Access to Care; Community Care and Choice; Accountability; and the quality of care provided to Veterans. Secretary Shulkin identified multiple priorities, such as reducing backlogs and getting more Veterans access to mental health care and suicide prevention programs. 

Addressing improvements in accountability and VA administration, Secretary Shulkin stated that while he was able to initiate the Executive Order establishing the Accountability and Whistleblower Protection signed by President Trump, “further legislation is needed and needed now.” 

The goal, the Secretary said, is to “turn the VA into the organization Veterans and their families deserve, and one that America can take pride in.” 

A fact sheet highlighting some of the elements of Secretary Shulkin’s address as well as the text of his address can be found at: http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/StateofVA_FactSheet_5-31-2017.pdf

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RESOLUTIONS PASSED AT THE 2018 AMERICAN GI FORUM NATIONAL CONFERENCE IN ALBUQUERQUE, NM

 

  1. Resolution to support  LULAC to upgrade the Distinguished Service Cross Medal to Congressional Medal of Honor to SGT. Willie Estrada who was killed in Korea while engaged in combat against 1,700 enemy forces.

  2. Resolution to support “Veterans for New America” an influential group of veterans representing each of the military branches and veteran service organizations who support a bipartisan solution to immigration for non-citizen military service members and their families.

  3. New Agent Orange Presumptions resolution highlighting the U.S. Institute Of Medicine (IOM) Congressional Research Report which shows five additional medical conditions which meet the rigorous standards of probability and causation due to environmental exposures in the Republic of Vietnam.  Those conditions are: hypothyroidism, bladder cancer, stroke hypertension, and Parkinson –like conditions.

  4. Resolution nominating Carlos Martinez to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Mr. Carlos Martinez has guided the National Veterans Outreach Program (NVOP) since 1978 into a multi-million dollar corporation composed of seven interlocking corporations providing veteran services.  During his tenure as CEO the NVOP has served over 450,000 veterans.

  5. Resolution recommending the need to increase Mexican American and Latino Museums to show the history and contributions by Mexican American’s and Latino’s in our Nation’s history and all our nations wars.

  6. Resolution recommending action by major networks and cable television to improve mass media presence of Mexican Americans on prime time television.  While Latino Population is approximately 17.4 percent of U.S. population only 5.8 percent have speaking roles during prime time in Television.

  7. Resolution against human trafficking of children which are exploited for sex and labor.  The AGIF will support awareness programs which educate the public to protect and prevent.

  8. Resolution against educational vouchers and privatization of public schools and that the national Commander will appoint an education committee that will be vigil of national, state and local education policies

  9.   Squadron 201, the Mexican Fighter Squadron, who fought side by side with American Forces, in the Philippines, during WWII, has never been publically acknowledged by the U.S. Congress.  The American GI Forum recommends that the President of the U.S. honor Squadron 201 by, awarding them the Congressional Gold Medal.

     

    Other resolutions were submitted to the Resolutions Committee and were either combined with a similar resolution or were rejected because they were directed at a state level and were not addressing a national agenda.

     

    Jake Alarid