August 04, 2014

Senator Crapo Seeks Help Of Idaho's Veterans

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

The men and women of our Armed Forces face many challenges as they protect our nation.  Because of the unique challenges they face and solemn sacrifices they make, Congress must support the needs of service members both on the battlefield and upon their return.  The recent exposure of the mistreatment of veterans seeking assistance through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) again underscores the need to improve the delivery of assistance to our nation's veterans.  The scandals prove that the stakes are high: Congress must get VA reform right this time.  As I work with my congressional colleagues to address the needs of our nation's veterans, the policies I advocate must have a meaningful impact on our veterans in Idaho.  In an effort to improve my understanding of veterans' needs, I invite Idahoans to share their VA experiences with me through a brief survey. 

Your responses to this survey are critical as I work to represent Idaho's veterans and advocate needed changes.  Addressing the VA's shortcomings is essential.  What do you think those shortcomings are?  Ascertaining where the VA is doing well is also important.  What do you think the VA is doing well?  In Congress' rush to make improvements, we must be careful not to harm programs that work well.  I invite Idaho's veterans to share both their positive and negative VA experiences. 

Veterans can take the survey online through my website at  Veterans who do not have internet access or are uncomfortable with computer use can call one of my officesto have a staff member administer the survey:  Washington, DC (202) 224-6142; Idaho State Office (Boise) 208-334-1776; South-Central Idaho (Twin Falls) (208) 734-2515; North Idaho (Coeur d'Alene) (208) 664-5490; Eastern Idaho, North (Idaho Falls) (208) 522-9779; North-Central Idaho (Lewiston) (208) 743-1492; Eastern Idaho, South (Pocatello) (208) 236-6775.  Additionally, veterans are welcome to visit any of my regional officesto take the survey in person.  Friends and families of veterans are also welcome to take the survey to share their experiences.

This short survey contains questions about the level of satisfaction veterans have with the VA generally.  It also asks where veterans receive health care treatment if they use VA facilities.  The survey provides the option of sharing individual positive and negative experiences.  Idahoans in need of specific assistance in dealing with the VA or other federal agencies and navigating programs may also contact my office for further assistance through the survey or separately.

The input of Idahoans is very valuable as we work together to tackle these significant national challenges.  I encourage Idaho veterans, their communities, friends, and families to provide input through the survey.  I look forward to hearing from you. 

# # #

Word Count:  447