Monday, December 8, 2008

Bysiewicz praises Obama appointment

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz today issued the following statement in praise of President-elect Barack Obama’s nomination of retired General Eric Shinseki to become the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
“General Shinseki’s nomination is great news for injured or ill military Veterans all over the United States of America. As someone who led with courage on the battlefield and suffered serious bodily injury himself, General Shinseki knows the pain and trauma of war and why top-quality care at the VA is needed. General Shinseki showed that same courage and integrity when he was army chief of staff and correctly forecasted the proper troop levels that would be needed to successfully accomplish the mission in Iraq. Though the Bush Administration ignored this sound advice at the cost of many lives, President-elect Obama has clearly shown he will take General Shinseki seriously.
General Shinseki’s leadership at the VA will also be a breath of fresh air from the current leadership, under Secretary James Peake, who directed the VA to ban non-partisan voter registration drives at VA facilities nationwide. This policy threatened to disenfranchise thousands of wounded warriors who sacrificed so much to preserve our fundamental right to vote and was only overturned following pressure from a bi-partisan group of Secretaries of State and Congress.
As a Senator, President-elect Obama co-sponsored S. 3308, the “Veterans Voting Support Act” with Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and John Kerry (D-MA) to federally designate the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a voter registration agency under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. This bill would require the VA to offer voter registration to anyone receiving services at a VA hospital, nursing home, or shelter for homeless veterans. I wholeheartedly support the passage of this legislation to permanently enact voting rights for our injured or ill military veterans. I view the nomination of General Shinseki as a clear sign that President-elect Obama shares this view and will not tolerate any interference with the voting rights of our wounded warriors.
It is my sincere hope that General Shinseki will be swiftly confirmed by the U.S. Senate and bring the VA a much needed change in leadership, I look forward to working with him and his administration.”


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