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Letter to the Editor

| Opinion | March 14, 2019

Calling Out Katie Hill

Recently, Congresswoman Katie Hill – California Congressional District 25 – informed us that she is now advocating for Veterans apparently unaware that the VA Accountability Act was approved by Congress and President Donald Trump in June 2017. Also approved was the Veterans Choice Program. Our House of Representatives approved this VA Accountability Act with 365 votes to 55.

Our past Congressman Steve Knight, both an Army Veteran and an LAPD Veteran, approved the Act while Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi opposed. It is certainly worth noting that in early 2018, Knight was successful in instituting a pilot program enabling veterans to have access to local healthcare facilities avoiding long driving trips to various VA Centers. The local clinics and facilities will bill the VA directly. That was a huge step in improving healthcare services for our deserving veterans.

Katie Hill has stated her concern for our large number of veteran suicides; however she jumbled these very real and serious issues with an EPA report of chemicals in our water. Her KHTS Hometown Station news report dated March 7, 2019, stated that Veterans have a greater exposure to chemicals (PFAS) in our water than average American citizens. Katie clearly implied that PFAS’s contribute to Veteran illnesses and suicides.

I am calling balderdash on Katie Hill’s assertions.

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Katie’s resume is extremely thin and the only known connection to veterans is simply that her dad and grandfather served in our military and, during her campaign for Congress, she touted her experience advocating for homeless people. Her website states: “Prior to being elected to Congress in 2018, Katie spent her career working on one of California’s most complex and persistent problems — homelessness.”

Just how has that worked out, Katie?

Katie, please back off on your veterans’ experiment as we’ve all seen your horrible track record.

For the record, I served in combat during 1967 in Vietnam’s treacherous and deadly Mekong Delta as a rifleman, point man, team leader, radio-telephone operator (RTO), and impromptu medic. During our worst day of combat my battalion lost 47 soldiers killed in action along with numerous wounded. As our unit’s historian, to my knowledge only one of our men who made it home alive committed suicide throughout these over fifty years. The vast majority of us who made it home alive promptly began pursuing our American dreams.

Regarding suicide by Vietnam Veterans, no one has determined its exact root cause but it’s my strong opinion that it’s likely a direct result of those Veterans understanding public opinion of the war deteriorated thanks to an unsupportive media. In turn, it was followed by weak knee politicians and the dismal and shameful treatment we were subjected to upon our return to America.

Lastly, its valuable to question today’s miserable societal penchant for embracing “victimhood”.

I believe America’s rise of the victimhood culture has been exacerbated by such phenomena as “Microaggression”, the “Me Too Movement”, etc.; all have quite frankly added to the manipulation of our younger generation of Veterans. This is disgraceful as our veterans are forced to face more than enough challenges serving our nation.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 47,173 American citizens committed suicide in 2017. The Veterans Administration has reported an average of 20.6 Veterans commit suicide daily, however that figure includes 3.8 active service personnel. It was reported that of the 20.6 veterans and service members who died by suicide, six had recently used VA health care services but the rate among those who didn’t receive VA care increased faster than those who did.

During the mid 1990’s President Clinton attempted to create a national healthcare program when he expanded VA health-services’ accessibility to cover all veterans. Prior, the services had been strictly available for “Veterans in need”. Additionally, the requirement to report your income and personal assets was dropped, which subsequently required constant funding increases to the VA.

As I advocate for our local Veterans and write their biographies, along with my constant association with my fellow Vietnam Veteran pals, I rarely receive complaints about the VA. In my wide circle of Veterans it’s believed that VA services have noticeably improved in recent years.

Bill Reynolds
Vietnam Veteran
Valencia, California

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