The Norman Transcript

Opinion

March 31, 2013

Vote ‘yes’ on SB 235 to reform the War Veterans Commission

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

I just viewed a short video done by Brig. General Steve Ritchie who recounts the rescue of downed Vietnam pilot Roger Locher in April 1972. Ritchie said that Loche’s rescue was the farthest behind enemy lines and superceded all air operations that day. It worked.  

When I viewed this story, it reminded of the reasons why every veteran is so important to our country and our state. The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, O.D.V.A., and the War Veterans Commission, W.V.C., are fighting legislative reforms by claiming the O.D.V.A. can police itself; it has done so in the past; that others don’t get what they do.  

The W.V.C. oversees the O.D.V.A. and its seven Oklahoma veterans homes.  I would submit that the W.V.C. and O.D.V.A. have lost their way.

I find it incredible that these two groups ignore all the news stories last year and months of legislative testimony about huge problems at the seven vet homes it operates. The evidence proves the O.D.V.A. and W.V.C. ;are broken.

This week, the House Veterans Affairs committee voted unanimously for SB629, which is the first meaningful O.D.V.A. reform bill.

The next vital bill approved by the senate is SB235. This bill reforms  the W.V.C. by requring it to protect veteran residents by directing it to formulate rules and regulations, which parallel federal and state long-term nursing home laws. A yes vote for SB235 will help reform the War Veterans Commission.   Mike Simmons,

Norman Veterans Center

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