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Hearing of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee - The Nomination of James Peake to be Secretary


Location: Washington, DC

Hearing of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee - The Nomination of James Peake to be Secretary


SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R-ID): Mr. Chair, thank you very much. And I will be brief.

I've had the great opportunity to visit with the general. And I will ask unanimous consent that my statement be a part of the record.

SEN. AKAKA: You statement will be entered into the record.

SEN. CRAIG: Let me say in as precise a way as I can so we can hear from our new secretary.

I've worked over the years and have spoken out about seamless transition. I now see an opportunity with a leader who understands that with a foot having just stepped out of DOD and into VA. And I hope -- and I believe, after having visited with him -- the vision to make that transition in a way that brings medical records and personnel records fluently and consistently through the process, so that we get into the 21st century with our men and women in uniform as they transition out of Defense -- out of active service -- into a veterans status in a way that can be called seamless. If this secretary can accomplish that, I believe he will accomplish a great deal.

Lastly, Senator Dole, you spoke of a relationship in education and a responsibility this country has in working with veterans. Let me recommend to you to look at -- and I will send it to you -- a program that I helped the University of Idaho initiate over two years ago called Operation Education. They have since programmed it and sent it out to colleges and universities across the country and it is simply this: An Iraqi or an Afghan vet who wants to come to the University of Idaho with all of the veterans benefits can come, and we will match whatever is necessary to make their stay there work. And we've reached out to private sector folks and to foundations and to the university foundation -- for example, if they're married, then we find a job for the spouse; we provide daycare to the children -- a combination of things that has brought, I think, the opportunity of that veteran coming out of Iraq or Afghanistan and using those benefits. We simply add to the benefits and leverage the benefits into a full benefit. And that's what the public and private sector ought to be doing in cooperation. So I recommend it to you. I'll send it to you. I think you'd enjoy looking at it. It's working very well. It's called Operation Education. Thank you.

Thank you Madame -- Mr. Chairman.


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