By Herb Ryan
December 1, 2016
Fulfilling a promise to tour the Hot Springs VA Facility, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald toured Battle Mountain Wednesday, November 30, 2016 along with the VA’s Black Hills Health Care System team, along with members of Save the VA committee, the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans members. Following the tour McDonald shared lunch with American Legion and Disabled American Veterans.
A town hall meeting at the Mueller Center following the lunch gave veterans and citizens an opportunity to make a final statement before a decision is made on closure on the facility.
In a meeting with the press following the town hall Secretary McDonald said, ” I want to emphasize no decision has been made at this point, it’s my decision to make and I did not come here with a prejudice towards a decision” . On a possible date for a decision on the fate of the Hot Springs VA, McDonald continued, “Most of the data is in, I did get new data today and that will be taken into account. Again there is no specific timeline. My intention is to not shirk my responsibility, but to make a decision once all the data is in and has been reviewed”. When asked again for a possible point in time for a decision, McDonald said, ” I will make a final decision before January 20, 2017″.