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WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) took her ongoing battle to save the Walla Walla Medical Center to the White House today in anticipation of a critical meeting this week.



In a personal, hand-written note to President George W. Bush, Murray urged the President to reject the proposed closure of the Walla Walla facility. The President is scheduled to review the CARES Commission report with Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi later this week.



In February, the VA’s CARES Commission recommended closing the Walla Walla Medical Center, which serves the region's 69,000 veterans. Since that time, Murray has pushed Secretary Principi to protect the facility and maintain critically needed substance abuse, long-term care and mental health services in Walla Walla. In her letter, Murray urged the President to support Southeast Washington’s veterans by continuing operations in Walla Walla.



“This facility is tremendously important. It provides real care to veterans, and is a treasured community asset. Please take a very hard look at the case to keep the Walla Walla VA open,” Murray wrote to the President.



Murray, the daughter of a World War II veteran and first woman ever to serve on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has been working for years to help veterans throughout Washington get the care they deserve.



The text of the letter follows. (PDF version of the hand-written letter)

April 28, 2004





Mr. President,

I understand you will soon see the CARES Commission final report.

As you know, I have worked hard to make the case for keeping the Walla Walla VA Medical Center open for veterans in Southeast Washington, Idaho and Oregon. This facility is tremendously important. It provides real care to veterans, and is a treasured community asset. Please take a very hard look at the case to keep the Walla Walla VA open.

If I can help with your review of this facility, please contact me.



Sincerely,

Patty Murray