The Department of Veterans Affairs is preparing to kick our elected officials out of a building that might not even exist without their bipartisan work in Washington.
In late August, the VA sent letters to Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy and Congressman Darren Soto, informing them that after an internal review they would not be allowed to keep their offices at the facilities here in Orlando.
Keep in mind, if it wasn’t for the work of former members of Congress like Republican John Mica, who preceded Murphy, or Democrats Corrine Brown and Alan Grayson who preceded Soto, the Lake Nona or Baldwin Lakes facilities might not be what they are today.
And by doing this, the VA is eliminating some of the strongest voices for veterans in the health care conversation.
As a member of the VA health care system here in Orlando, I can tell you, it’s often a taxing process to receive care. There are no guarantees you’ll be able to get the care you need when you need it.
This is where the office of our elected officials come into play. It’s the only part of the entire process where accountability matters.
Unfortunately, you can’t hold senior VA officials responsible. Many of them have been tied up in the system too long and are not in touch with the level of care at their facilities. That sounds harsh, but I would direct your attention to the current state of affairs with veterans health to provide all of the evidence you need.
You can however talk to someone from your Representative’s team at these offices and it counts. Veterans vote.
Now, the VA here in Orlando wants to take that away from us.
This doesn’t stop at just Murphy and Soto. Every Orlando area lawmaker should be concerned here. Health care for Veterans effects constituents on all levels, serving important purposes all over our community.
I would genuinely like to see Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, and the entire state delegation get involved.
It’s also important that Governor Ron DeSantis, a veteran and former member of Congress himself, let his opinion on what’s going on at these facilities be known. It’s not just Murphy and Soto, but other members of Florida’s congressional delegation as well, that are being asked to leave facilities. Republicans and Democrats.
The VA does have many hard working health care providers. Doctors and nurses who are scrambling around trying to help as many as possible, but for a system that has had problems, especially at the upper echelons of management, we need a presence from our elected officials to ensure our quality of care.
Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy should be allowed to keep their offices at these facilities. If not, it will be Orlando veterans that pay the price with their health care.