South Dakota Governor Asks VA Secretary to Shift Course

South Dakota Governor Noem Asks VA Secretary McDonough to Shift Course and Not Betray our Veterans

PIERRE, SD (STL.News) Today, in a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough, Governor  Kristi Noem asks the Secretary to reconsider the VA’s recommendations to close and downsize veterans’ healthcare facilities throughout South Dakota.

“These recommendations would severely impact the care of the veterans in South Dakota and surrounding states.  I would like to state my strong opposition to these plans.  Frankly, these recommendations represent a betrayal of our veterans who offered to sacrifice life and limb to protect us and our freedoms,” wrote Governor Noem.

The Governor pointed to South Dakota’s rural nature and the fact that centralizing care will cause many veterans – especially tribal veterans – to have to travel long distances for care.  She also cited the promise made by the VA in 2020 to protect the veterans hospital in Hot Springs – and the fact that this plan represents a betrayal of that promise.

“I look forward to further conversations on how these short-sighted recommendations do not reflect the best interests of our veteran communities.  I expect that the VA will approach such conversations with an open mind and open ears.  And I hope that we can eventually come to a solution that shifts these recommendations and prioritizes the healthcare of the men and women who sacrificed so much to defend us and our freedoms,” Governor Noem concluded.

Governor Noem previously criticized the Biden Administration for this proposed betrayal of our veterans, and you can find that media release here.