April 26, 2018 – IAVA Response to Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson’s Withdrawal as VA Secretary Nominee
This painful and tumultuous chapter for VA, and our nation’s veterans has come to an end. But the volatile, damaging saga continues. We now face the prospect of a stunning eighth nominee for VA Secretary since 9/11. After Secretary Shulkin’s volatile controversies and eventual exit consumed weeks of headlines, Rear Admiral Jackson’s controversies consumed even more. It’s been an unprecedented time of chaos, political agendas and uncertainty. And millions of veterans and their families have paid the price. Our community is exhausted by the unnecessary and seemingly never-ending drama. VA’s reputation is damaged, staff is demoralized, momentum is stalled and the future is shockingly unclear. Our veterans 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. In the meantime, we will continue to share our voices, unite our community and fill in the gaps as best we can. And 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. All of us on the frontlines of veterans support, healthcare and empowerment need reinforcements now more than ever.”
April 24, 2018 – POLL: Most Post-9/11 Veterans Do Not Support Jackson for VA Secretary
As reports speculate that the Senate will postpone the scheduled Wednesday confirmation hearing for President Trump’s nominee for VA Secretary Dr. Ronny Jackson, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the leading voice of the Post-9/11 generation of veterans, revealed results to an exclusive poll on veteran support for the new nominee. The poll, conducted over a two-day period and surveying more than 2,266 IAVA veterans and servicemembers, found that the majority of veterans do not support Dr. Jackson’s nomination, and 38% oppose him for the critical position.
“IAVA members nationwide have deep and rising concerns about the nomination of Rear Admiral Jackson. We have now been through seven VA Secretaries since the start of the war in Afghanistan. The Secretary of 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 veterans, and critical programs like the Post-9/11 GI Bill and cemeteries nationwide. IAVA members know how important this nomination is, and they’re making their voices heard. On this critical leadership position at this turbulent time, American can not afford a misfire by the White House.” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA.“
The VA Secretary is one of the single most important voices in America for all veterans. It is critically important that the person leading the VA understands and is prepared to handle the responsibilities and the challenges that go along with the job. IAVA members nationwide are calling on the Senate to do its job at this defining time and ensure that any nominee for VA Secretary will live up to this awesome responsibility. Without stability in VA leadership, veterans nationwide are being left behind, our priorities are stalled and our national security is jeopardized,” continued Rieckhoff.
IAVA will continue to pressure all elected officials and leaders in Washington, including the acting VA Secretary, to work with leadership from both sides of the aisle to ensure VA is best equipped to care for all generations of veterans, including the 2.8 million Post-9/11 veterans. IAVA looks to any nominee for VA Secretary to devote focus on the 2018 Big 6 Advocacy Priorities outlined in the IAVA Policy Agenda:
- Sustain the campaign to combat suicide among troops and veterans
- Sustain the campaign to recognize and improve services for women veterans
- Defend veteran and military education benefits
- Defend and reform government support for today’s veterans
- Initiate support for injuries from burn pits and other toxic exposures
- Initiate empowerment of veterans who want to utilize cannabis
March 30, 2018 – Release of IAVA Member Poll
On the evening of Wednesday, March 28, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Dr. David Shulkin was fired by President Trump.
Just days before the announcement that Dr. Shulkin had been fired, IAVA polled our members on their feelings towards VA leadership, and the results showed that veterans were not happy with the performance from those in power at VA. See the full results of the poll here.
Adding Light to the Heat: Read, watch and listen to IAVA media contributions to the conversation
Ronny Jackson Controversy Compounds Real Tragedy of the VA -Op/Ed – CNN
The Deeper Challenges Facing the VA – On Point
Veterans Affairs In Limbo After Jackson Withdraws As Nominee – NPR
Trump’s pick to head veterans department faces skepticism over his experience – Washington Post
Trump’s VA pick blindsides staff, deepens agency disarray – Politico
Trump’s VA pick draws concern over thin management record – Associated Press
IAVA Research Director Discusses Veterans Issues – ConnectingVets.Com
To join fight for VA reform and to learn more about how you can help support IAVA’s Big 6 initiatives, visit our Take Action page by clicking here.