In the News
Source: Marion Times
Nov 17 2016
By DJ Kauffmann
Iowa's first female U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst smiled as she moved among the crowd of Marion's finest during Hy-Vee's Veterans Day breakfast on Friday morning. Besides her role as a public servant, she has served in the military over two decades and in 2011 was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard.
Supporting veterans is a high priority for the Senator. And a top-down approach to fixing the current U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) problems is vital, she told the Marion Times. She said a new leader at the VA is needed in order to fix the disfunctional bureaucracy now in place.
And, it is vital for veterans facing traumatic post-war issues to receive help at private hospitals as well as the VA, she said. "We simply cannot continue to operate with a business-as-usual attitude when 20 of our brave service men and women are committing suicide every single day," --WASHINGTON, D.C.; Press Release - U.S. Senator Joni Ernst.
Senator Ernst is currently looking into an Iowa case concerning questions about combat veteran Brandon Ketchum's VA admittance denial. "Mr. Ketchum, a 33-year-old combat veteran of Bettendorf who served two tours with the Marine Corps in Iraq and a deployment to Afghanistan with the Army National Guard, was seeking medical health care from the Iowa City VA Medical Center. Mr. Ketchum tragically succumbed to suicide on July 8, 2016, after claiming that the VA had turned him away." [Press release]
Sen. Ernst grew up on a western Iowa farm near Red Oak before being elected to her current office. She touted during the senatorial campaign, she would make them squeel in Washington by cutting the pork. She is living up to her promises by exposing the VA's many problems (including financial) and is demanding reform after decades of possible system abuse.
"'Doors are swung wide open for fraud, waste and abuse,' Ear Mr. Frye, the deputy assistant secretary for acquisition and logistics, wrote in a whistleblower letter that made national headlines. The examples backing up Mr. Frye's claims just keep piling up: 'The VA's inspector general reported that the agency's human resources department wasted $6.1 million on two conferences in Orlando, Florida, that treated employees more to vacation than to training.'" [VA's record of waste, fraud and abuse keeps piling up; washingtontimes.com]