March 4, 2022
PIERRE, S.D. – Today, Governor Kristi Noem promised to defend South Dakota veterans against President Biden and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from their plan to close and downsize several VA facilities in South Dakota. Governor Noem issued the following statement:
“The Biden Administration has betrayed the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our nation and our freedoms. First, Democrats defunded the police. Now, they are defunding our veterans by recommending closures and downsizing of VA facilities across the country.
“These are their plans: they will turn the full-service VA hospitals in Fort Meade and Hot Springs into clinics; the Sioux Falls VA hospital will lose its emergency services; and the clinic in Wagner will completely close. Veterans in these areas will no longer have options and may have to drive hundreds of miles to obtain healthcare services. Tribal veterans, in particular, could lose their healthcare services entirely.
“When I voted to modernize VA healthcare in 2018, we had the goal of expanding healthcare options for our veterans. We wanted them to be able to choose the care that was best for them. The Biden Administration’s action will only limit those options and shortchange our veterans. It was not the intent of our vote, so I am promising to push back.
“South Dakota is the best state in America to live and work as a veteran, and we will not stand for this betrayal. We will defend our South Dakota facilities and stand up for the men and women who stood up for us.”
The announcement was made on conference calls with VA employees at the affected facilities this afternoon. You can listen to the call with VA employees at Hot Springs and Fort Meade here. Prior to the conference calls, the VA sent employees a message that can be read here.