Ayotte says work at veterans facilities in North Country critical for care
Ayotte, a Republican, met staff and volunteers at the Vet Center in Gorham in the morning to tour the center and hear concerns. In the afternoon, she held a town meeting at the VFW in Berlin.
While the Vet Center was doing a good job with the mental health side of things, there’s a big gap with providing medical services. The closest full service medical facility is in White River Junction, Vt. There are Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOCS) in Littleton and Conway, but they are one to two-and-a-half hours way, depending on where in the North Country a veteran lives.
No full-service facility
She said New Hampshire’s congressional delegation has written to Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki outlining the problems, and she recently wrote a second letter to Shinseki.
The afternoon town meeting addressed a wider set of issues, mainly revolving around her concerns about where the national deficit was heading. While it was down somewhat this year, to $680 billion, it is still a big number that equates to $147,000 per household. It is on track to reach $27 trillion over the next decade, she said.
“We need a grand deal,” she said, one that would stabilize debt, strengthen entitlements (Medicare and Social Security, which are predicted to be insolvent in 2026 and 2033, respectively), and include pro-growth tax reform.
She reviewed some of the legislation she had supported, including a balanced budget amendment, a cap on spending in line with a 40-year historic average and a duplication elimination act (which would get rid of or consolidate things like three offices for inspecting catfish).
Ayotte was asked if she has considered running for President.
“It’s such a privilege to serve New Hampshire,” she said. “I really want to work on issues here.”
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