VETERANS CORNER: More political appointments not the answer

Gary Kennedyby Gary Kennedy

I will apologize to the followers of the veteran’s corner as I have been unable to follow-up on your many responses. I have personally undergone a couple of spinal surgeries which have left me laid up for the past two months. I promise, however, to whittle your comments and opinions down over the upcoming issues. I need to mention, however, if you are sending in articles for print, they must be proper/respectful and limited in length. Those of you who have called, I will handle as needed. Many of you have asked for support on issues which I will give special attention and/or refer to the proper people for appropriate answers/actions.

On January 24 Bayard Bergmann wrote a lengthy article which was difficult to understand in part. He wrote, “Only political appointees can stop the VA scandals.” Well, our column is not out to stop the VA scandals, although we believe there are many. All you have to do is pick up a paper or turn on the news to see that the world is looking at our country as one big soap opera; it’s sad and disgraceful. A country such as ours which has been respected throughout the world is now airing its dirty laundry for all to see. The Putins of the world just sit back and smile, while we drag ourselves through the mud. Although this column is dedicated to helping veterans and their problems, what we are trying to achieve is being lost along the way.

I personally don’t believe that more “Presidential Appointees” is the answer to an already teaming, listing structure which will cave in on the veteran if it is allowed to continue. Already I have heard all over the world, “take a look at yourself.” How can you defend against the implications here? These are hard times in and of themselves without our political appointees making things worse. It should be a given that a new president will in fact make all his strategic appointments: the pre-existing should be eliminated. That is just good common sense.

I don’t see the difference between 38 VA political appointees and 138 political appointees. My opinion on this is, if one person is appointing them it goes right back to a party issue. The president needs to set the tone here; it’s his direction. Most politicians are on the side of our veterans; those that have hidden agendas would be soon found out and eliminated. Veterans’ needs and rights are being given the best attention ever at this time. I happen to be one who is 100 percent permanent and total, and have been so for many years. I have been watching a very good structure appear after many stagnant years. Most of the problems most of us see are at the VA level and need to be brought out into the light of day.

The most urgent needs are of a medical nature, ie: doctors, operating rooms and a better defined B.V.A. (Bureau of Veterans Affairs). I personally believe that President Trump has done a fine job cleaning things up considering the information he has been given to work with. Those who are self-serving have kept things from him and I believe it is up to we veterans to bring the concealed problems to his attention.

Of course, the president needs people who agree with his vision for veterans and their welfare. However, inflated government doesn’t solve the problem. It just turns beef stock into beef stew. It tastes better but isn’t what you were trying to do. Veterans need to find a more direct venue for their problems so the issues are clear and the money can go where it is really needed to be. Tell what you know and make sure it gets to the president’s desk. If you try venting the problems at the local VA level, your information will fall on deaf ears. There are incompetent persons out there getting promoted beyond their capabilities; so, of course, your information will hit a break wall.

The president can’t see everything. He is fighting on many fronts to keep us free and safe; we need to help. I personally agree that the best way to populate the government with meaningful, productive help is by the president’s hand. The hangers on from previous administrations just muddy up the water and nothing gets done. Replacing the old with new is very necessary in order to move forward with the president’s vision. I don’t believe in over populating with presidential appointees. The delegation of authority is very important here, so the president must make his appointments wisely and oversee what he designs.

It’s a difficult task if one watches what is happening today, but it is the way it must be done. Partisan games do not help veterans who come from both sides of the aisle. I think we forget that our men and women in uniform come from all sides of the political spectrum. Color, gender or political affiliation really never comes into the picture when we consider our freedom. Those that serve allow us the right to move about freely and believe in what we wish. We encourage all opinions to be voiced here. God Bless.

Gary Kennedy is a disabled veteran, and accomplished veterans’ advocate. He can be reached at


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