Veterans voice concerns to Rep. Benishek

Congressman Dan Benishek (R-Crystal Falls) was in Marquette Friday to listen to concerns of Upper Peninsula veterans as part of Memorial Day weekend.

He held a public meeting at the Jacobetti Home for Veterans.

Benishek explained what he is doing in Congress to help veterans, and listened to concerns veterans have.  He said that two issues that always come up at meetings like this are VA Claims backlog and closer access to healthcare for veterans.

One of the things Benishek said he working on is called the Veterans Accountability Act.

“If the Inspector Generals have found that the VA hasn’t done something properly and the VA doesn’t address it, the VA will be required to name the manager who’s job it is to do that,” Benishek said.  “And if they (the manager) don’t produce within thirty days to stop their bonuses, stop their promotions, and put in their performance review the fact that they haven’t completed their job.”

Benishek is also introducing new legislation on sexual assault crimes in the military.

“This legislation will take the reporting of sexual assault out of the chain of command, and have those victims report to a professional prosecutor within the military, and not have their job on the line, and not have to report this kind of incident to their boss,” Benishek said.  “This is a bipartisan issue; this is something we need to solve now, and I’m happy to be working toward that end.”

Benishek also visited with high school students in Negaunee and at North Star Academy in Marquette as part of the Veterans History Project.  Students interview veterans, and the interviews are then sent to the Library of Congress.

He will also attend a ribbon cutting ceremony and dedication at the Oscar Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain Saturday morning.  The Medical Center is renaming the circle drive in front of the facility after Army National Guard Sergeant First Class James Prestap.

The ceremony takes place at 9 a.m. CST.