KULR8: VA Secretary McDonough, MT representatives hold listening session at the Montana Army National Guard Headquarters

by Meredith Depping

HELENA, Mont. – Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, Representative Matt Rosendale, and U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines held a listening session at the Montana Army National Guard Headquarters Wednesday.

A release from Sen. Tester says he, his capacity as the new Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, brought McDonough to the Treasure State to meet firsthand with veterans, VA employees, Veterans Service Organizations, local health care providers, officials and members of the media on his first official trip as Cabinet Secretary.

Multiple listening sessions and VA facility tours were held this week in Billings, Bozeman and Butte.

The group heard from veterans, stakeholders and local officials on a variety of issues, the roundtable covering issues like delivering COVID-19 relief, supporting women veterans and addressing Agent Orange exposure.

“It’s an honor to host Secretary McDonough on his first trip to Montana to hear directly from veterans and advocates on how we can improve VA services in Helena and across the state,” said Chairman Tester. “Montana veterans swore an oath to protect our country, and they deserve high-quality care and benefits in return for their sacrifices. Today’s discussion focused on the needs of our nation’s men and women in uniform, and I look forward to working with the Secretary to ensure they’re addressed.”

Before the listening session, a tour was given of the newly opened $12 million primary care clinic at the Fort Harrison VA Medical Center that will serve approximately 5,000 veterans in the surrounding area where they met with veterans and employees.

The Senator and Secretary also stopped by the Fort Harrison Regional Benefits Office to discuss Blue Water Navy veterans’ care and benefits, employee vaccines, rural outreach, exams, and Federal Records according to the release.