Local Veterans React to VA Secretary Nominee

by ekramer on December 8, 2008

Local veterans say they are encouraged by President-Elect Barack Obama’s nomination of Army Gen. Eric Shinseki to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

The choice of four-star general Shinseki has been praised by Retired Amy Gen. Colin Powell and other veterans.

Ted Austin is state commander of the non-partisan American Legion of Kentucky. He says whoever heads the department will have to be a strong leader at a time when there are new and stronger measures on the table to provide veterans with benefits.

Austin says the 2008 G.I. Bill as one of them.

“This new G.I. bill is going to allow some of these young service men and women to take advantage of that opportunity, which helps our society,” Austin says.

In Congress, then-Senator Obama co-sponsored the bill, which became law last summer and goes into effect next August.

Austin also says he hopes the department’s new leader will be able to shore up support and the funding promised for a new V.A hospital in Louisville.

“A new state-of-the-art hospital here would be so much a benefit to not only the veterans but also the people in the state of Kentucky and around the southern part of Indiana,” he says.

In November, the government committed $75 million for a new VA Hospital in Louisville.

The Senate must confirm Shinseki nomination.

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