Congressman Steven Palazzo, (MS-4), released the following statement today in response to the resignation of Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
“I respect Secretary Shinseki’s decision to resign in light of the widespread reports of negligence and failed care for our veterans,” Palazzo stated. “Our veterans have been subjected to careless and shameful treatment at the hands of the very government they fought to protect. Secretary Shinseki’s resignation should be the first step the VA takes, not the last, as the agency cleans house and clears the way for what I hope are substantial, institutional reforms. I will continue to be in close communication with our local VA health centers in the coming days.”
Palazzo is a Marine veteran of the Persian Gulf War and has repeatedly called for Secretary Shinseki’s resignation. He also sent a letter this week, along with Rep. Bradley Byrne (AL-1), asking for detailed reports on wait times at VA medical centers in Biloxi and Jackson that serve veterans across the Gulf Coast. Earlier this month Palazzo also voted in favor of the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014, of which he was a cosponsor.
In November 2013, Palazzo raised concerns about the VA’s failure to address systemic flaws in leadership as he condemned reports of inadequate care at the Jackson Veterans Affairs Medical Center (V.A.M.C.). Despite the fact that those incidents resulted in the death of patients, evidence showed those in charge were transferred to different facilities instead of being fired. Palazzo said the facility, named after Mississippian and famous veteran advocate G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery, is “not in keeping with his legacy of service.”