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Hearing to focus on helping veterans in civilian life

Post by Christian Hill / The News Tribune on April 3, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
April 3, 2012 3:04 pm

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray will hold a hearing Wednesday, April 4, in Tacoma to explore how to improve mental health care, job opportunities and community outreach for returning veterans.

Senior Veterans Affairs and Pentagon officials will join Murray for the hearing, which begins at 10:30 a.m. at the STAR Center, 3873 S. 66th St.

This is an official field hearing of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which Murray chairs.

Members of the public can attend the hearing but are asked to RSVP at People won’t be able to ask questions at the hearing, but they can fill out comment cards that staff will follow up with after the hearing. In addition, on-site caseworkers will be on hand to assist with VA claims issues.

Scheduled to attend are:

• Dr. Robert Petzel, Under Secretary for Health, Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs

• Dr. Susan Pendergrass, Director, VA Northwest Network,Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs

Willie Clark, Western Area Director, Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs

• Dr. Jo Ann Rooney, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Department of Defense

• Senior Army leaders, local service members and veterans, business leaders and veteran advocates.

The hearing comes as the alleged murders of 17 Afghan civilians by a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers have focused attention on the stress of multiple combat deployments. More than a week ago, Murray and two other members of the state’s Congressional delegation met with the Army’s No. 2 general and other senior leaders at Lewis-McChord to discuss this and other issues.

Doors open at 9:45 a.m.

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