Dr. Benishek Hosts Veterans Public Meeting With Committee Chairman Jeff Miller

Oct 19, 2012 Issues: Veterans

ELK RAPIDS, MI:  Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) and U.S. Congressman Jeff Miller (FL-01), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, today held a special veterans’ public meeting in Elk Rapids.

“It was great to meet with so many of Northern Michigan’s veterans today.  Chairman Miller and I were pleased to learn more about their views on how we can improve the VA system and ensure our nation’s heroes get timely access to the benefits they have earned.  Our veterans have fought for our freedoms and I am committed to fighting for them,” said Dr. Benishek, a surgeon who worked at the Oscar G. Johnson VA Hospital in Iron Mountain for 20 years.

“I want to thank my good friend, and fellow Veterans’ Affairs Committee Member, Dr. Dan Benishek, for hosting today’s town hall with the veterans in Northern Michigan,” stated Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “Veterans, especially those in rural areas, do not always have the ability to get care on demand from the VA.  So it is important that we continue to look for ways to broaden access to the VA for those living in our communities across the nation, and especially in Michigan, by bringing care and services to them.”

The special veterans’ public meeting, which was held at the AmVets Center in Elk Rapids, was aimed at providing local veterans with insight into the work and focus of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.  At the meeting, veterans received an update from Dr. Benishek, Chairman Miller, and State of Michigan VA officials and then had the opportunity to take part in a question and answer session. 

Other participants in the discussion included: David Leonard, Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs Detroit Regional Office, Major General Mike Lehnert, Vice-Chair for the Student Veterans of America, Jason Allen, Michigan’s Senior Deputy Director for Veterans Affairs, and Tom Brown, Senior Vice Commander of AmVets Post 114. 

“During today’s meeting, we heard from veterans concerned about the disability claims backlog problem.  Right now, many of our veterans have to wait over a year just to start receiving their benefits.  We need to fix that.  That’s why I launched a plan last spring that will ease this backlog and get Northern Michigan’s veterans their benefits faster.  Over the summer, I was proud to introduce common sense legislation that will help address the backlog by speeding up the claims process for veterans with hearing loss,” added Dr. Benishek, who is Michigan’s only member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. 

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