Patty in the News

MOUNT VERNON — Sen. Patty Murray heard from local veterans and some of the organizations set up to help them at a listening session Thursday at Skagit Station downtown.

Many expressed concerns about the outdated Veterans Affairs system that leaves them waiting up to 16 months for benefit claims to be processed. As chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Murray said she is acutely aware of the program’s shortcomings and that a few things are in the works to improve it.

“We have a VA system that hasn’t gone into the 21st century,” Murray said, going on to describe a visit to the Seattle VA office, which was filled with paper and little electronic filing.

Veterans also said they and their comrades have struggled to find work after retiring from military service. A proliferation of serious stress disorders associated with combat has made returning to the civilian world even harder, they said.

Murray said she would take these concerns back with her to D.C. and told the roomful of people that she’d “remember what you all fight for every day as I sit on that committee.”

- Skagit Valley Herald