The Head of the VA in Montana Sacked, More Change Needed
The head of the VA in Montana was "sacked," but more changes are needed at the top of the Veterans Administration bureaucracy. That was the conclusion that I shared along with our good Navy veteran friend George Blackard, who is a former Vice Commander of the American Legion here in Montana.
First off, let me say- hats off to Chris Enget and Concerned Veterans for America-Montana. CVA has hosted town hall meetings with both of Montana's Congressmen which highlighted several of the problems when it comes to veterans health care.
We have great folks that work at our VA clinics here in Montana, but the political bureaucracy at the top is harmful to veterans and VA workers alike.
For those who saw the news last week that the VA Director for Montana was sacked, Retired Army Lt. Colonel Ed Saunders summed it up well:
Ed Saunders: I read VA Montana will have a new director- again. Dr. Judy Hayman is out. I've lost count of how many directors VA Montana has had since I've been here. The directors generally last between two and four years - if that. Montana doesn't have rural medicine, it has frontier medicine. You can't take a standard VA management template, put it on Montana and expect it to work. Montana will always be a "management-by-exception" situation. VA directors here have to understand this, and be creative in their approach to veterans in the vast areas of Montana.
Montana's US Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) also weighed in on how "the Biden VA continues to fail our veterans.
Sen. Daines: Montana has one of the highest populations of veterans per capita in the United States yet the Biden administration’s VA continues to fail our heroes who have sacrificed so much for our country. The fact that it took this long for the Administration to make a much-needed leadership change in Montana shows the Biden administration is not prioritizing care for our veterans. Unfortunately, the Democrat-controlled Senate also continues to fail in its responsibility to conduct oversight and hold the VA accountable. This must change immediately or our veterans will continue to be dishonored for their sacrifice.
Here's the problem (IMHO): Democrat Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) has had his thumb on the VA Directors for too long. He has hand-picked far too many of these failed, politicized VA Directors in Montana due to his role on the VA committee in the US Senate. Get Tester out of the way.
Here's my solution (IMHO): Let's get a committee of veterans like George Blackard to lead a committee to help pick the next VA Director for Montana. Put Ed Saunders on it. Put one of our radio callers, Justin in Poplar, on the committee. Let Governor Greg Gianforte (R-MT) pick the task force and help clean up the federal government's mess. And as George Blackard pointed out- don't just take out the leader at the top: clean house of the whole executive team.
George Blackard and I had a great chat dissecting the news about the VA Director being sacked. Listen to the full "Freedom Friday" audio below: