3rd District Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler says that she knew that the bureaucracy inside the Veterans Administration was bad, but she was still shocked by some of the stories shared yesterday morning by about a dozen local veterans in a roundtable discussion in Kelso. Beutler says that there are clearly some priorities that need to be defined inside the VA. Most of those who spoke expressed their frustration at the length of time and lack of communication from the VA in trying to get claims processed. Beutler says that the bill recently passed through Congress and signed by the President should start to help provide some small improvements, but she also says that it’s clear that additional changes are needed to help make sure that the VA is meeting the needs of all American veterans. U. S. Senator Patty Murray has a similar meeting planned for this afternoon in Vancouver, where she will tour the Vancouver VA facility, and will meet with top VA officials from Portland, Vancouver and Seattle to discuss wait times and care access for Northwest veterans. That meeting is set to start at 2:30 this afternoon.
During the current Congressional recess, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler is conducting a couple of other local events over the next two days. Today, Beutler is hosting a Roundtable discussion in Napavine, inviting owners and representatives of small businesses to discuss today’s challenges and opportunities. This event is scheduled to start at noon at Ramblin’ Jack’s RibEye Restaurant, just of I-5 at exit 72 in Napavine.
Tomorrow, Beutler plans to meet with U. S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe, planning to tour several sites in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Prior to the tour, Beutler will be in Stevenson for a Roundtable discussion, inviting community members to talk about the actions needed to bring forests back to health for the benefit of local wildlife and local communities. The Roundtable is scheduled to start at 9:30 tomorrow morning in the Stevenson Community Library, and then the tour is scheduled to begin at 11 am. Due to space and time limitations, these are both invitation-only events.