Keeping the Promise: Chairman Filner’s Agenda for Veterans for the 111th Congress

House Veterans' Affairs Committee

January 27, 2009 – January 27, 2009, Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, January 27, 2009, with both Democratic and Republican Members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in attendance, Chairman Bob Filner held a meeting with 34 veterans service organizations to discuss priorities for the 111th Congress.

“We recognize the benefit of a new start – the Committee has new Members, the country has a new President, and the Department of Veterans Affairs has a new Secretary,” said Chairman Filner.  “Working together, we have a remarkable opportunity to make progress this year and I look forward to working closely with veterans service organizations to help veterans.”

Chairman Filner started the discussion by listing the Committee’s top priorities which include providing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with sufficient and timely funding, fixing the disability compensation system, improving mental health treatment, improving health care access for women and rural veterans, and continuing vigorous oversight of the VA with a special focus on the implementation of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.  The Chairman also discussed the need to improve the transition process from service member to veteran, noting that cooperation between the Department of Defense and VA has improved but has a long way to go.  

Participants related how the general economic downturn is affecting the veteran community and called for investment in vocation rehabilitation programs and labor training.  The lengthy wait for some veterans’ disability claims has contributed to financial problems and a domino effect that can result in economic turmoil from which some veterans never recover.  Additional issues addressed included caregiver needs, Agent Orange veterans, Gulf War Syndrome, preventing homelessness, and the need for greater VA outreach campaigns to alert veterans of available benefits and programs.

Chairman Filner concluded: “Thank you for coming to express the needs of veterans to this Committee.  We are truly grateful for the work you do and for your dedication to improving the lives of our Nation’s heroes.  I ask you to continue reporting to Congress what you see and what you hear.  We learn from you and we need your assistance as we demand accountability and work towards solutions.  We have a new excitement and a new commitment to honor our veterans that have so bravely served our country and I hope you continue to work for progress.”


Complete List of Participants

1.      Michael M. Dunn, President and CEO, Air Force Association

2.      Bob Price, Deputy Director, Military & Government Relations, Air Force Sergeants Association

3.      Steve Robertson, Director, National Legislative Commission, The American Legion

4.      Ray Kelley, Legislative Specialist, AMVETS

5.      John Lopez, Chairman, Association for Service Disabled Veterans

6.      Tom Zampieri, Director of Government Relations, Blinded Veterans Association

7.      Dave Gorman, Executive Director, Disabled American Veterans

8.      Thomas Banzul, General Counsel, Empowering Veterans

9.      Frank Yoakum, Legislative Director, Enlisted Assn. of the National Guard

10.     Joe Barnes, National Executive Director, Fleet Reserve Association

11.     Rachel Clinkscale, Co-Chair, Government Relations Committee, Gold Star Wives of America

12.     Herb Rosenbleeth, National Executive Director, Jewish War Veterans

13.     Patrick Campbell, Legislative Director, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

14.     Jeff Roy, National Commander, Military Order of the Purple Heart

15.     Bob Norton, Deputy Director Government Relations, Military Officers Association of America

16.     Joe Wynn, Legislative Liaison, National Association for Black Veterans

17.     Rick Jones, Legislative Director/PAC, National Association for Uniformed Services

18.     Cheryl Beversdorf, President and CEO, Natl. Coalition for Homeless Veterans

19.     Barbara Cohoon, Deputy Dir. of Government Relations, National Military Family Association

20.     Ronald B. Abrams, Joint Executive Director, National Veterans Legal Services Program

21.     Ike Puzon, Director of Legislation, Navy Reserve Association

22.     Richard Schneider, Exec. Dir. for Government Affairs, Non Commissioned Officers Association

23.     Steve Robinson, Program Development, ONE Freedom

24.     Carl Blake, National Legislative Director, Paralyzed Veterans of America

25.     Marshall Hanson, Legislative Director, Reserve Officers Association

26.     Deirdre Parke Holleman, Executive Director, The Retired Enlisted Association

27.     Matt Cary, President, Veterans and Military Families for Progress

28.     Joe Wynn, President/ Senior Advisor, Veterans Enterprise Training & Service Group, Inc.

29.     Jason Knobloch, Research Coordinator, Veterans for America

30.     Paul Sullivan, Executive Director, Veterans for Common Sense

31.     Chris Needham, Senior Legislative Associate, Veterans of Foreign Wars

32.     Donald D. Overton, Jr., Executive Director, Veterans of Modern Warfare

33.     John Rowan, National President, Vietnam Veterans of America

34.     Mike Turner, Chief of Congressional Affairs, Wounded Warrior Project

This entry was posted in Gulf War Updates, Veterans for Common Sense News and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.