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Mullin' It Over Column

Continuing our Commitment to our Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ move to close the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee is an unacceptable blow to our veterans who risked their lives to defend our freedoms. It’s a dereliction of duty for this administration to leave our rural veterans behind. 

 

The Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center serves more than 52,000 veterans across 25 counties in Eastern Oklahoma. The medical center will soon celebrate its centennial, having provided nearly 100 years of service to our veterans and upholding their commitment to quality care.

 

Under President Trump, a proposal was solidified to keep the Muskogee VA open and increase veteran care in the district. Closing the Muskogee VA is certainly not what our veterans had been promised. If the Biden Administration goes through with this, it’s our veterans in rural Oklahoma who they’ll have left behind.

 

The former proposal positioned the Muskogee VA to grow and continue its presence in Eastern Oklahoma for generations to come. It cemented Oklahoma’s commitment to providing quality care for those who have served and addressing the growing specialized care needs, like behavioral health and rehabilitation. 

 

To see this plan threatened is deeply concerning. Many veterans in Muskogee and the surrounding areas do not have the time nor the means to drive to Tulsa. It is crucial that the Muskogee facility remains in operation so veterans in Eastern Oklahoma have more than one option to turn to for care. 

 

I firmly believe we should be growing the VA presence in Oklahoma, not diminishing it. It is my hope we can continue to provide the highest quality of service for all our veterans who call Oklahoma home. While we owe our veterans a debt of gratitude we can never repay, this is the least we can do. The administration needs to keep their word and stick to the plan that will work.

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