Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Are veterans and jobs used as pawns in the big game of politics?

Verne Strickland Blogmaster
May 5, 2011 

Since 2009 vets and people who live in the 7th district, Wilmington, Brunswick County, Pender County and the surrounding communities have been waiting on a VA clinic, a clinic which will bring jobs to the area and much needed healthcare to vets. 

In all fairness to Congressman McIntyre, he is not the first politician to use such projects as a way to appeal to voters. My question I would like to ask you is, “Should vets and jobs be used as pawns in the game of politics?”

 I know that this may seem unfair or like a biased line of questions but I would like to suggest some common sense solutions and ask you at the end if we are using jobs and medical care to our vets as a lure; rather than a way to provide care for our soldiers and help our local economy. 

This June Brunswick county hospital is on schedule to be completely moved into a new facility and a perfectly good facility left empty. The option to open a VA hospital was considered and quickly dismissed by Mr. McIntyre as not happening after a walk through with the staff and VA officials last summer. 

April 12 of this year WECT reported that the hospital was back on track and to be built near the Airport in New Hanover County and will hopefully be completed in 2013. The project was halted in 2009 and October 2010 due to complications in acquiring land but has now been fixed. 

My solution: open the expanded clinic in Brunswick county facility immediately opening jobs and care for vets which are both needed in our area. The building has oncology, sleep clinics and so many other assets available right now and would cost almost nothing due to it already exists and has the necessary infrastructure in place. 

The best case scenario of opening in 2013 would provide 2 years of needed help and care but if for some reason the Mega clinic did not open until much later we have not neglected care for our vets and we have people ready to move into their jobs in the new clinic.

In case you are wondering why I think I know more about this than a congressman who sits on a committee as a Senior member on the House Committee on Armed Services, well I am a disabled vet who receives his care at VA hospitals and has since 1999. I currently drive 3 and ½ hours to Durham for my care and when I asked if I should move it to Fayetteville 2 hours away I was informed it would take 2 to 3 years in order to have a regular doctor assigned to me.

I am one of the lucky ones, my aches are nothing compared to our vets today who come back missing a limb, maimed or scarred from battle and I have sat and watched WWII, Vietnam and current vets who have trouble standing waiting in line for care, waiting months for an appointment or like my last visit: informed that your clinic cannot see you because they just have too many patients but if you want to- you can go to the emergency room.

If you still wonder where my heart is or why I believe this to be a win for everyone, I would ask you to please read the note under my Facebook profile titled “A Soldier’s Reward”. Politics aside and considering only the Seventh District and how to best represent them, I would like to ask Representative McIntyre to reconsider and open the clinic in Brunswick if only as a temporary relief to our vets. 

Are we playing games and using jobs and vets as pawns for political gain?

Tim Wilkes   Congressional Candidate 7th District 2012