Congressman Bill Owens is not a strong advocate for veterans in his district. Congressman Owens and the Watertown veterans clinic have repeatedly been given feedback on problems that plague the Watertown Veterans Affairs clinic, and both have failed to take action.
A couple of years ago, veterans in the Watertown area complained about the health care they were receiving at the Watertown VA clinic. Our congressman jumped on the issue, did a survey of veterans complaints and sent off a letter to VA administration.
In my opinion he has dropped the ball relative following up on the issues that were pointed out to him at that time. If he was a true advocate for veterans in his district, the congressman would have followed up with face-to-face meetings at the regional and federal levels.
In addition, he would have followed up with the veterans in this area to ensure their issues had been addressed.
Congressman Owens likes to take a wait-and-see approach to issues. Unfortunately this doesnt work well with large bureaucratic organizations like Veterans Affairs.
The congressman has not been proactive relative to veterans health issues in his district. By sending off a letter, with no follow up or face -to-face meetings to press our concerns, you get what the veterans of the 23rd District got no answers and no resolution to their issues.
Congressman Owens likes the media and other public relation events at Fort Drum. From my prospective he is missing in action when it comes to veterans issues.
The congressman is quick to point out that the VA is overwhelmed and short of staff. I wish he was as quick to come to the aid of the veterans in this area. For those of us who are Vietnam veterans, we are very familiar with a dysfunctional and overwhelmed VA.
We are all keenly aware that the VA is definitely overwhelmed with the veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. However it doesnt excuse making a 92-year-old WWII vet wait two hours past his appointed time and having him get up and leave in disgust. It does not excuse having medical information faxed to the VA three or four times and having to make numerous phone inquires to make sure it was received and someone actually looked at it. There is no excuse to shortchange previous generations of veterans. For me, throwing out excuses doesnt get it. If you know you have a problem, fix it and stop with the excuses.
Veterans deserve better from the congressman and this clinic.
David A Henderson