Colorado veterans cautiously optimistic about new VA Secretary David Shulkin

DENVER -- Colorado veterans are hoping to see improvements in medical care now that the U.S. Senate has confirmed physician David Shulkin to be the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Frank Cocker, the Director of Coalitions for Concerned Veterans for America here in Colorado, talked about Shulkin on this week’s Politics Unplugged.

“Some of his ideas and his challenges to the status quo were cautiously optimistic,” Cocker said of what veterans learned during Shulkin’s confirmation hearings. “Granted he was part of Bob McDonald’s sort of failed VA administration, however we really view it [as] ... he has an inside knowledge of the VA and he’s going to be able to come in and right the ship.”

Other Colorado veterans aren’t as sure of the President’s choice. Shulkin is the first non-veteran to head the VA.

“I think we need a veteran or otherwise somebody who has deep military experience,” veteran Joe Burner told Denver7 earlier in the week.

Both men are hopeful new leadership will be good for the new VA hospital under construction in Aurora. Costing nearly $2 billion, the hospital budget is roughly triple what it was supposed to be when work started and the project is years behind schedule.

Shulkin is a former Obama administration official and has been the VA’s top health official since 2015. He has pledged to protect veterans’ interests, even if it means disagreeing with President Donald Trump.

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Politics Unplugged airs Sundays at 4 p.m. on Denver7.

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