FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                           PRESS CONTACT:

January 13, 2015                                                                                            Brenda Lopez 956.564.1527


PRESS RELEASE: Vela, Hinojosa Invite VA Secretary McDonald to Rio Grande Valley


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) and Rubén

Hinojosa (D-Mercedes) sent a letter to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald inviting him to South Texas to meet with veterans and tour a VA Health CareCenter in the Rio Grande Valley.


“It is critical that VA Secretary McDonald visit the Rio Grande Valley so he can observe firsthand how our veterans are being served and what more must be done to fulfill our obligation to care for veterans and their families,” U.S. Rep. Vela said. “While the VA has its headquarters in Washington, D.C., the mission of the agency is to serve veterans in South Texas and throughout the nation. As the VA works to restructure and improve the agency, the VA Secretary and other leaders must understand the true needs of our veterans.”


The letter was sent last week.


“I believe the best way a person can fully understand the needs of another person is by meeting them face to face and to have a conversation with them about their concerns and their needs. This is why I think it is very important that VA Secretary McDonald visit the Rio Grande Valley and meet with our veterans who have served our country so honorably,” U.S. Rep. Hinojosa said. “No one can better describe the challenges veterans face in accessing healthcare than the veterans themselves. For too long now they have waited for a full service hospital to treat our ever-growing number of proud veterans. We are lookingforward to meeting with Secretary McDonald as soon as possible.”


Below is the full text of the letter:


January 7, 2015


Honorable Robert McDonald


Department of Veterans’ Affairs

810 Vermont Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20420


Dear Secretary McDonald:


As a new year begins, we wanted to commend you on the work you have been doing to make the Department of Veterans’ Affairs more responsive to the needs of our veterans.  However, we are writing on behalf of the thousands of veterans of Deep South Texas who continue to experience difficulties in accessing health care and in benefits processing.  These veterans proudly served their country and they deserve to have the possible experience with the VA. Deep South Texas is one of the fastest growing regions of the country and the migration of retired veterans either permanently or for good portions of the year will continue to significantly contribute to this population explosion.


The people of South Texas are very patriotic.  We have sent thousands of our sons and daughters to serve in all branches of the military and over 47 have lost their lives in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Unfortunately, our region has also been underserved by the Veterans’ Administration although the situation has been improving.  While we appreciate the new facilities that have opened, we still need a full service hospital to fully address the needs of our veterans. 


In thisregard, we respectfully request that you meet with us in Washington and also come to South Texas and hear first-hand from our veterans the difficulties they face.  Our Chiefs of Staff, Connie Humphrey (202-225-2531) and Perry Finney Brody (202-225-9901), would be glad to work with you staff on making any necessary arrangements.  We thank you for your consideration of this request and look forward to your reply.





Rubén Hinojosa                                                                                Filemon Vela

Member of Congress                                                                     Member of Congress 


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