March 29, 2018

Statement From Senator Mazie K. Hirono on the Change in Leadership at the VA

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) issued the following statement after President Donald Trump fired Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin and nominated Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson to replace him.

“The chaos continues in the White House with the continuous shuffling of cabinet secretaries – the latest being Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin. The Department of Veterans Affairs is an agency already rocked by scandals and reports of infighting, and I had hoped that Secretary Shulkin would have brought the kind of stability and commitment necessary to improve services that our veterans deserve and earned.

“The President tweeted that he intends to nominate Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson to serve as Secretary Shulkin’s successor. Admiral Jackson has led a distinguished military career, but I am concerned about how his lack of management experience will impact his ability to lead our government’s second largest agency – with more than 350,000 employees and a nearly $200 billion annual budget. I am also concerned about whether Admiral Jackson will be a rubber stamp for the President’s desire to privatize VA health care. 

“Admiral Jackson deserves an opportunity to address these concerns directly. As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I look forward to reviewing his qualifications, hearing how he plans to address the specific needs of Hawaii veterans, and will hold him to a commitment to strengthen—not privatize—the VA.”