Hawaii veterans react to Shinseki resignation

Hawaii veterans react to Shinseki resignation

Hawaii veterans and lawmakers are weighing in after the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

The display that chronicles the life of the Kauai native is closed as the Hawaii Army Museum in Waikiki undergoes renovation. News of the resignation disappointed the honorary historian.

"I'm very sad for him. He's a really great guy and he didn't deserve blame like that. We will see in the future what could be done," said volunteer Pierre Moulin.

Some veterans said they were glad that Shinseki stepped down.

"Why? Because of the terrible things that are happening in the VA and apparently it's at least in large part the result of improper leadership," said Richard Borsukiewicz, a retired Marine.

"I think it was necessary to move forward," said U.S. Army and Air Force veteran Lawrence Roller. "The secretary seemed very, very detached and very aloof and ostentatious in my interpretation."

But others are coming to Shinseki's defense.

"I think he's a hell of a man with integrity," said Kitara Vaiau, a Vietnam veteran. "In the American way, more like you take the blame for everything even though it was not physically done by yourself."

Hawaii's congressional delegation praised Shinseki's loyalty and service. As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono is looking for solutions.

"We will have another hearing on some proposals that the chairman has that focuses on the administration of VA and also issues such as access to care and that's something that the veterans in Hawaii have pointed out," said Hirono.

U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard said she is drafting legislation to ensure that veterans have immediate access from a doctor - whether part of the VA or not.

"The challenges and the symptoms of the issues that we're seeing today within the VA are issues that have been there for decades," said Gabbard.

Gabbard just announced a statewide listening tour next week to hear from veterans and their families about their concerns and experiences.

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