Congressman Byrne talks Veterans’ Affairs at town hall meeting

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – On Monday afternoon, Alabama Representative Bradley Byrne and Congressman and Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller of Florida, held a town hall discussion about Veteran’s concerns, April 16.

“Our government is growing by leaps and bounds and they’re spending more money on everything. Everything is getting more money,” said Retired US Navy Commander Pete Riehm.

Commander Riehm is fed up with Veterans Affairs not taking care of the men and women who have served our country. A major concern across the board: healthcare of veterans.

“They keep changing the different packages and options and we are losing choices. When they start going up, the guys that are on fixed incomes, the guys that are retired…that really starts hitting their pocket books,” he said.

Commander Riehm said enough is enough and something needs to be done…especially in South Alabama.

“We have a very inadequate VA clinic. That’s an issue. When is it ever going to come? They’ve been teasing with that for years. A big concern in the VA Clinic. They’ve been talking about building a new VA clinic, a new bigger, better, VA Clinic for a couple of decades. Supposedly there have been proposals out there for the last two or three years to build a better VA clinic…here in Mobile. And it’s not come to fruition. It keeps stalling and stalling. And again, it hasn’t…there’s no answer. What’s the status? Will there be an answer? Did they shelve it again? And that’s a concern,” said Riehm.

He said there are many concerns to vets, some, including healthcare benefits, being stripped away each day by the federal government.

“The veterans have already earned those benefits. We don’t look at it like, oh you’re giving us some…we earned those. That’s what we did when we served and did our time. And part of the benefits package was healthcare,” said Riehm.

Congressman Byrne told FOX10 News on Wednesday afternoon that an RFP, or request for proposal, is in the works for a new VA clinic in Mobile. There is not a definite timeline on when it will be finalized.

UPDATE (April 17) – According to Veterans Health Care officials in Pensacola, plans are in place to build a new out-patient clinic that will replace the one currently on Springhill Avenue in Mobile. The new facility will be over 82,000 square feet will provide out-patient care to 16,000 veterans in the area. Final plans will be submitted to the Department of Veterans Affairs next month.

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