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Opening Statement of Hon. Corrine Brown, a Representative in Congress from the State of Florida

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for calling this hearing today.

In my home state of Florida, we have a large amount of rural land and one of the largest populations of veterans in the country.  Our veteran population is the oldest in the country.

The wars we are currently fighting are using the National Guard and Reserves at a higher level than any other war. Many of the veterans coming back from OEF/OIF are not living in a traditionally military area.  There are not a lot of retirees who served at the local base living nearby, creating a ready-made support group.  These reserves go home. There are no support services nearby.

What plans does the VA have to address these veterans 3, 4, 5 or more years down the road?

We will hear from an expert from HHS which has been involved in rural healthcare for decades.  What can the VA learn from this department?  Will you try to find out?

I am pleased the VA is building a CBOC in my district in Gainesville. This will bring necessary mental health and other services to those veterans living in that area. However, we need more for them.

I look forward to hearing the testimony from all the witnesses today.