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updated: 5/30/2014 9:41 AM

Duckworth says VA chief should go

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  • In 2008, president-elect Barack Obama and Democrat Tammy Duckworth, then director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Bronze Soldiers Memorial in honor of Veterans Day. Duckworth, who later worked as assistant secretary of the federal VA, called for Secretary Eric Shinseki to be replaced Friday.

      In 2008, president-elect Barack Obama and Democrat Tammy Duckworth, then director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Bronze Soldiers Memorial in honor of Veterans Day. Duckworth, who later worked as assistant secretary of the federal VA, called for Secretary Eric Shinseki to be replaced Friday.
    Associated Press File photo

 
 

Political Editor

mriopell@dailyherald.com

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates Democrat and former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, called today for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to be replaced.

The department has been hit with scandal after an inspector general report showed veterans faced long wait times for care and that officials could have falsified reports about the problem at a hospital in Phoenix.

"It is clear from the Inspector General's latest report that the issues with the Veterans Health Administration system are even greater than originally thought and the findings are simply not acceptable," Duckworth said in a statement Friday morning.

"Unfortunately, this scandal has been a distraction from that and that's why I think it's time for new leadership at the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is crucial that we work together in a bipartisan fashion to do whatever is necessary to fix these problems and make sure that they never happen again," said Duckworth, who lost both legs when a Blackhawk helicopter she was piloting was shot down in Iraq.

The number of members of Congress who have called for Shinseki's resignation has been rising, and Duckworth's statement adds the voice of a former VA official and wounded Army veteran.

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