Resignation of VA Secretary Shinseki the Right Decision; Now We Must Review, Reform and Restore Trust

May 30, 2014
Campaign Release

Oklahoma City, OK – The resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki prompted Sen. Clark Jolley to release the following statement:

“Secretary Shinseki made the right decision to resign today. It is a good start to getting to the bottom of this scandal, but we now need a systemic, ground-up review and reform at the Veterans Administration (VA). America’s veterans deserve to know that every person connected to the incidents detailed in the VA Inspector General’s report have been identified and held responsible for neglecting their duty and responsibility.

"We know that veterans who sought care never even made a waiting list for appointments, we know that 40 died waiting and the average wait for an appointment was 115 days. What we don’t know is whether this problem was limited to the Phoenix VA hospital or if we are going to learn of more gross negligence and callous indifference at VA hospitals around the country.

"I was sickened to learn from the Veterans Administration Inspector General’s report that hospital administrators sought to deliberately keep veterans from getting the care they needed in an effort to achieve performance markers and get bonuses. They had secret lists and collaborated on delaying care through unethical scheduling practices while knowing that human lives hung in the balance. This is unconscionable and they must be held accountable.

"I am appalled that President Obama expressed continuing confidence in Secretary Shinseki’s ability to lead the VA until today, even when it was when it is glaringly obvious that his incompetence and lack of compassion allowed the situation to escalate. He knew there were deep problems at the VA, and he knew that vets were suffering without medical treatment. Why did it take so long for Shinseki to resign?

"As a State Senator, I have always worked to help Oklahoma veterans in every way possible because I am grateful for their service to our great nation. Earlier this week I spent Memorial Day with some Oklahoma veterans and discussed this issue with them. Needless to say, they were worried about their future health care and wonder how this could possibly be happening in America.

"They did not enlist for financial gain. The pay is low, they serve far away and in dangerous conditions. They serve because they love America. Many return home wounded and seek care through the VA system. The government’s response to this scandal will say a great deal about who we are. We can either honor our veterans with the quality health care they deserve, or we can allow those who risked life and limb protecting our freedoms to die on a secret waiting list, praying for the pain to subside. I believe we can reform and rebuild the VA, making it worthy of serving the men and women who have served us so noble.” Jolley concluded.

State Senator Clark Jolley has been a leader for conservative principles in Oklahoma's state government since he was first elected in 2004. He is the author of major legislation to reduce taxes, fight ObamaCare, enact tort reform, protect the 2nd Amendment, balance the budget, and protect the lives of the unborn. He and his wife Verlyne live in Edmond and their two children attend the local public schools.