May 04, 2020

Chairman Takano Meets with American Legion Executive Director Chanin Nuntavong to Discuss VA Staffing, Community Care

Press Contact

Jenni Geurink (202-819-4684)

Miguel R. Salazar

RIVERSIDE, CA – Last week, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (D-Calif.) spoke with Chanin Nuntavong, the American Legion’s Executive Director, to discuss how their members are adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns regarding VA staffing and access to care as the country reopens. See the full conversation with the American Legion here.


Watch the full conversation here.

"Let me just say Chanin--I appreciate the partnership that we have with the American Legion to support America’s veterans,” said Chairman Mark Takano. “I also want to thank your membership again for the leadership I know they’re providing in their communities-- to lead their neighbors in this crisis. Your membership has profound experience as veterans knowing how to serve our country, and I know they’re answering the call in so many different ways in their communities. One thing I’m hopeful about, too, is that because of the emergency situation, the Secretary is hiring and filling a lot of vacancies at VA. I feel optimistic that there will be a net gain in staffing and that could position the VA well for a gradual reopening-- I’m doing all I can to urge the Secretary to use the expedited hiring authority that he has and hire really great people. Staff that they’ll need because of their proactive approach in our nursing homes and state-veterans homes to assist those very vulnerable groups of veterans. Grateful to have you with us virtually, Chanin."

"Thankfully, I think our Legionnaires are doing a great job of helping flatten the curve,’ said TAL Executive Director Chanin Nuntavong. “They’re being responsible citizens and being safe and protecting one another. Their biggest concern as we hopefully start the transition out of this, is what is going to happen with their care. The care at VA has been part of their routine—including their regular appointments and elective surgeries. They’re wondering: what’s VA’s plan for that as we start rolling out, are we going to see a huge influx? Am I going to get the appointment I need at VA in a timely manner? If VA is overwhelmed, we need to make sure that community care, including our partners at TriWest and Optum, are ready to welcome our veterans back. Thank you Mr. Chairman for your leadership in the House and thank you for everything you’re doing for veterans."

For more information about the Committee’s efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis and resources for available for veterans, please visit: