Ronny Jackson controversy compounds real tragedy of the VA

Over the last week, the national media turned its attention to our veterans. Unfortunately, it was not because of new...

Posted: May 1, 2018 1:16 PM
Updated: May 1, 2018 1:16 PM

Over the last week, the national media turned its attention to our veterans. Unfortunately, it was not because of new studies about the problem of veteran suicide, or to draw attention to the national movement to legalize medical marijuana to safely treat injuries of war. It was because President Trump nominated his personal doctor, Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, to head the Department of Veterans Affairs.

He was underqualified from the start, which for most veterans is much more troubling than the controversial accusations that led to Jackson's withdrawal.

Even before the scandal unfolded, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) surveyed veterans nationwide and found that only a small group of post-9/11 veterans supported Dr. Jackson's nomination. The drama may have died down in the media, but it's still front and center for millions of veterans and hundreds of thousands of dedicated VA employees nationwide, who now face the prospect of a stunning eighth nominee for VA secretary since 9/11.

This painful and tumultuous Ronny Jackson chapter for VA and our nation's veterans has come to an end. But the volatile, damaging saga continues. After Secretary David Shulkin's controversies -- including allegations of misusing taxpayer funds -- and eventual exit consumed weeks of headlines, Jackson's controversies consumed still more. It's been an unprecedented two months of chaos, political agendas and uncertainty. And millions of veterans and their families have paid the price.

In the few weeks since Dr. Jackson was first nominated by President Trump, an estimated 333,502 veterans were waiting for disability claims with the VA, 11,000 veterans started using the GI Bill to pay for college, 60,000 veterans in suicidal crisis called the Veterans Crisis Line, and 600 veterans died by suicide.

The secretary of the VA is responsible for the second largest department in the federal government -- one with a budget of more than $180 billion and over 300,000 staff, the welfare of millions of our brother and sister veterans, and critical programs like the Post-9/11 GI Bill and cemeteries nationwide. And the VA secretary is one of the single most important voices in America for all veterans.

But instead of stability, leadership and solutions, veterans once again face uncertainty. Our community is exhausted by the unnecessary and seemingly never-ending reality show-type drama. VA's reputation is damaged, staff is demoralized, momentum is stalled and the future is shockingly unclear.

This year of failures and debacles has been exhausting, and veterans nationwide still have grueling challenges ahead of us to ensure we get the care and resources we were promised. And yet again, our energy is drained by another senseless political scandal -- one that could have easily been avoided.

Our veterans deserve better. We are simply looking for a competent, proven and dynamic leader with integrity that can lead our nation forward out of this storm of darkness and into a brighter future. Hundreds of thousands of IAVA members nationwide are standing by to help the President find and vet a man or woman who is up to this historic leadership challenge.

More than ever before, we need someone who can ensure VA stands most of all, for Veterans Advocate. And we need the President to do the same. In the meantime, we will continue to share our voices, unite our community and fill in the gaps as best we can.

We call on all Americans now to answer the call in this time of need and support our VA staff, our non-profit service providers and our veterans service organizations across America. Read the questions asked by hundreds of veterans and active military nationwide. Demand answers. All of us on the frontlines of veterans support, healthcare and empowerment need reinforcements now more than ever.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1490496

Reported Deaths: 20500
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2039162521
Lake1001941500
Allen923541011
Hamilton72207547
St. Joseph64053755
Elkhart48903625
Vanderburgh47506523
Tippecanoe43182336
Johnson37906521
Hendricks35984459
Porter34277466
Madison28722537
Clark25552325
Vigo25251344
LaPorte23269307
Monroe22751244
Howard21818377
Delaware21391366
Hancock18487220
Bartholomew17860213
Kosciusko17769201
Warrick16642213
Wayne16062300
Floyd15640257
Grant15143296
Morgan14245231
Boone13388136
Noble11656140
Dearborn11560112
Henry11546201
Shelby11483150
Marshall11258167
Dubois11123152
Jackson10425104
Cass10121142
DeKalb10101129
Lawrence10082220
Huntington10016139
Gibson9415125
Montgomery9153141
Knox8942124
Harrison8874112
Whitley861871
Steuben8488104
Jasper8192114
Clinton810295
Putnam806199
Miami8032133
Jefferson7773124
Wabash7726139
Ripley7118112
Adams6595101
Daviess6455127
Scott638586
White613282
Greene5999112
Clay597573
Wells5902120
Decatur5885119
Jennings586278
Fayette5735121
Posey543448
LaGrange524197
Randolph5027129
Washington494368
Owen491499
Fountain472479
Spencer446556
Starke438686
Sullivan437465
Fulton431891
Orange420882
Jay409764
Rush403937
Carroll377549
Perry376755
Franklin375850
Vermillion352062
Parke319238
Pike316245
Tipton313774
Blackford271755
Pulaski270874
Newton231561
Brown226754
Benton215721
Crawford215131
Switzerland194214
Martin186722
Warren174821
Union165519
Ohio122616
Unassigned0739

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2439205

Reported Deaths: 31245
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2637212065
Cuyahoga2582743018
Hamilton1696091714
Montgomery1126771604
Summit1074271391
Lucas909371160
Butler80397942
Stark754911400
Lorain63313792
Warren51040475
Mahoning50162915
Lake47051605
Clermont44631429
Delaware39611212
Trumbull38910755
Medina37850419
Licking37593408
Fairfield34482334
Greene32823422
Portage31698360
Clark30769445
Richland28751423
Wood28217297
Allen24942395
Miami23274395
Muskingum22683245
Columbiana22370403
Wayne21565356
Tuscarawas19096427
Erie18282222
Ashtabula18102342
Marion17861232
Scioto17031207
Ross16556252
Pickaway15812178
Hancock15561228
Geauga15320223
Lawrence14172186
Union1359984
Huron13584182
Belmont13554247
Jefferson13090258
Sandusky12933199
Athens12126106
Knox11721198
Seneca11631200
Darke10950198
Ashland10916178
Washington10729168
Auglaize10364142
Crawford10062175
Shelby9961157
Brown9610140
Fulton9453150
Guernsey9304117
Highland9215148
Defiance9209135
Logan9114142
Clinton8950127
Mercer8816111
Madison8730106
Preble8145162
Williams8014135
Putnam7863135
Ottawa7752121
Champaign7696112
Jackson7510117
Perry725998
Coshocton7137136
Morrow706382
Fayette678287
Pike632586
Hardin6311128
Gallia605891
Adams5913124
Van Wert5877121
Henry577093
Hocking5634104
Carroll4877100
Wyandot487590
Holmes4787161
Paulding409064
Meigs380473
Monroe303368
Noble285051
Harrison284461
Morgan280348
Vinton245145
Unassigned08
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Angola
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Decatur
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