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PA-8: Strouse Calls for Systemic Change for VA

Kevin Strouse loresKevin Strouse, the Democrat nominee who will face Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick in the race for PA-8 in November, today expressed his disapproval of the way Congress is handling the VA backlog. In a press release Friday morning, he attacked the institution as a whole, rather than just his opponent Rep. Fitzpatrick.

In the growing scandal surrounding long wait times for veterans in need of medical treatment and the falsification of information regarding those wait times, more than 100 lawmakers have called for Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki’s resignation, according to the New York Times. While Strouse thinks his resignation is necessary, he believes that more important issues need to be addressed. [Note: Shinseki resigned just hours ago].

“Many of the ongoing calls for Shinseki’s head sound a lot like political grandstanding during an election year,” Strouse claimed. “If members of Congress want to know who is responsible for the scandals at the VA and delays in claims processing, they should look in the mirror—Shinseki isn’t the only one to blame.”

The political grandstanding Strouse mentions seems to be something he does not wish to take part in. Instead of focusing solely on his opponent’s reputation of voting against additional aid to the VA, a typical political tactic in election years, he more broadly criticized the voting record of the entirety of Congress.

“I believe dramatic reforms within the VA are needed. However, just replacing Shinseki will not solve anything if Congress doesn’t accept its role in creating this crisis in the first place … Republicans in the House and Senate, including Congressman Fitzpatrick, have repeatedly voted against properly funding the VA,” Strouse wrote. “Moreover, as the Bush administration and the Republican Congress made plans to go to war, they failed to plan to treat returning soldiers who would need VA services after years in combat.”

Strouse’s own three tours of duty in Afghanistan and single tour in Iraq may have contributed to his call for systemic change rather than political charades. Overall, he displayed more of a willingness to address his genuine desire for reform rather than to simply express outrage at his opponent’s wrongdoings.

He still couldn’t resist, however, getting a jab in at the end.

“Congressman Fitzpatrick voted against hiring more claims processors to help reduce the backlog in veterans claims, and against funding suicide prevention services for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Congressman Fitzpatrick’s record has not served the best interest of our veterans,” he concluded.

7 Responses

  1. Some food for thought!

    While the Republican Congress blames the VA system they have refused to acknowledge the costs of their wars that have been conducted toward protecting the trading routes and economically exploitive policies for the sake of corporate outsourced businesses. They continue to do much for our returning and victimized heroes.

    They have done little to deal with our homebound soldiers getting jobs or retaining their sanity and pride of being worthy as they come home to no jobs and a meaningless existence. They were once able of body and mind and we owe them not our political parties our loyalty.

    Mr. Strouse is one veteran who can speak to the problems of so many others who have served with distinction just to come home to an audience of cynical big business ideologues – pretending to have the interest of veterans at heart when their real interest is in derailing any money toward problem solving our underlying economic and social problems.

  2. Sorry, clutch, but nothing you said is accurate especially about Fitzpatrick “leading the charge”…the majority of Republican votes have been against veterans. And I have read the roll calls on to know that. You think the VA is an executive-run agency? Wrong, it’s a government-run department with politicians legislating policies and funding. This VA scandal is the culmination of decades of malfunction and complacency within the VA that has finally tipped over. Not only is what you said not accurate, but you apparently are a civilian who thinks they know everything. An executive-run agency? Seriously, the VA isn’t an ad agency….if you don’t have anything of intelligence to add, move along.

  3. Strouse is honorable, thoughtful and a decorated veteran who genuinely understands the stakes for our returning heroes. He would be a breath of fresh air compared to a career pol like Fitzpatrick who is in bed with the bankers he is supposed to regulate – just google “Mike Fitzpatrick” and “Ocean Reef Club” if you don’t know what I’m referring to.

  4. Hey Strousie.

    The VA is an executive-run agency, NOT a congress run agency.

    If you weren’t such an empty suit bent on idiotic attacks you would know that.

    Also, get your head out of that Pelosi parrot attack book and check reality. OBAMA and the administration’s hand-picked bureaucrats screwed up the VA ….. not Fitzpatrick and not anyone in Congress.

    If this is the kind of attack dog crap Strouse is gonna spout, we’ve got one pathetic challenger on our hands.

    Check the record of this past year and you will discover that Fitzpatrick has been LEADING THE CHARGE against the VA incompetence.

    Then again, if you had been anywhere near this district prior to a few months ago, you would have known that.

  5. Why he is at it, maybe he can explain why he has said nothing about the average of 23 veterans that commit suicide everyday.

  6. The VA is complete government run healthcare.

    That is socialized medicine

  7. Strouse must have gotten the memo from the DCCC, instructing him to pile on prior to the pro-forma “resignation” at what was feigned to be a come to Jesus meeting.

  • Understanding that basic education funding should/will be first, what should be the next highest priority for the General Assembly?

    • Raising The Minimum Wage (25%)
    • Legalizing Adult-Use Marijuana (24%)
    • None of the above. Something Else. (20%)
    • Economic Development (14%)
    • Higher Education (8%)
    • Public Transportation (8%)
    • Workforce Opportunities and Innovation (2%)

    Total Voters: 51

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