Jim Nicholson, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, was in Albuquerque Monday to speak to the National Guard Conference. I took the opportunity to meet with him to talk about issues important to our vets.
Jim is a West Point grad and Vietnam vet. After catching up on the prospects for the Army football team and Air Force almost beating Tennessee, we got down to business.
The VA is doing an appraisal of some land next to the Santa Fe national cemetery to see if it is worth buying it to extend the life of Santa Fe. Land in Santa Fe is pretty pricey, but we'll just see how that comes out. The City of Santa Fe kindly donated over five acres of land to the VA and they are moving forward with that land transfer. I told him that we will want to continue to work with him to make sure Veterans in New Mexico can be buried in a national cemetery if they wish.
We also talked about health care. We keep pretty close tabs on waiting times for specialists at the VA hospital. According to Nicholson, the current referral times for all specialties but one are less than 30 days. We talked about some problems that spike from time to time -- eye care and dentistry are the most common.
We also talked about disability claims and the need to get people fair consideration and an answer in a reasonable time.
A big part of this job is helping people when they have problems with the government. We'll keep working the individual issues and work the larger systemic problems too.
Wish you were here,