Veteran healthcare takes center stage at town hall with Congressman Pete Sessions

After the town hall, Sessions commented, “we have work left to do.”
Published: Aug. 21, 2021 at 10:55 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CALDWELL, Texas (KBTX) -Rep. Pete Sessions (R-District 17) continued his town hall series across the Brazos Valley Saturday at Caldwell High School in Burleson County.

No topic was off-limits as the discussion ranged from COVID-19, the crisis in Afghanistan, border control, and much more. But the focus was on veterans, specifically their frustrations and displeasure over healthcare provided by the Veterans Administration.

Several veterans that attended Rep. Sessions’ town hall in Bryan back in July made the journey one county over to Burleson County to once again let their voices be heard.

Sandra Arellano-Rivers attended both town hall meetings. She says she felt her voice was heard; however, a medical procedure that she needs was placed on hold several times.

“It was brought up at the last town hall, and they told me that they would have somebody talk to me, to get me scheduled, to go into see a physician locally, and that still has yet to be resolved,” said Rivers.

Arellano-Rivers says the pandemic is not making the situation any better.

“To be perfectly honest. I think right now we’re up against a whole lot of challenges. I understand that because of COVID, there might be some lack of access to the buildings because of that.,” said Arellano-Rivers. But this was before COVID, and it still took me this amount of time, four months to get an appointment.”

Al Diaz, the chaplain for the Brazos Valley Marine Corps League Detachment 1391, says he attended to support his brothers and sisters in service. Diaz feels that the veterans are not asking for much. They just want what many fought and died for and vows to continue attending the town halls until something changes.

“I think I’m loud enough, and I think they heard me without the microphone, so I think it got across. But we’ll be at the next one. When they have another VA town hall meeting, the Marine Corps League will be present to speak our opinions on the VA,” said Diaz. “We don’t need a fancy building. We don’t need the paint or the carpet. We need professional doctors to take care of us.”

Rep. Sessions assured constituents their voices were heard. He says the VA is facing many challenges.

“They very intently listened to the things I had to say, and I listened to them. There are a lot of ideas that were expressed today, some also about veteran’s healthcare and the VA. Some of those were uplifting, and some were not very uplifting. We have work left to do,” said Sessions. “We’re engaged in a long dialog, but individually specifically, these people need to be helped. They’ve worked for our country. We value their service. We’re going to stay after it.”

Rep. Sessions also voiced his concerns on the handling of the troop withdrawal in Afghanistan.

“The Afghanistan circumstance is a real-life, ongoing circumstance that does not appear to be favorable at this point. It’s a change of progress that I think the United States had been making in Afghanistan with the Afghanistan people,” said Sessions. “We didn’t just leave. We turned around and ran, and I believe that left them in a difficult circumstance.”

Rep. Sessions is scheduled to return to Washington, D.C, on Monday. He says he remains focused on the needs of the residents in district 17.

“As a matter of fact, we go back early. We will be back on Monday, and the focus is they want to pass a bill that would change all voting requirements to Washington, would be made by Congress, and overtake state laws. I’m opposed to that. I think that’s a bad idea,” said Sessions. “There will be other things on the agenda for the week, and then we will then spend what I believe is about the lasts three weeks back in the district.”

I will be hosting a town hall for residents of Texas' 17th Congressional District in Burleson County. This will be a...

Posted by Pete Sessions on Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Copyright 2021 KBTX. All rights reserved.