I am grateful to President Trump and to members of Congress for entrusting me with the privilege of serving Veterans and the dedicated employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs as your secretary. It is my highest professional honor.
Together, we’ll ensure our nation’s obligation to provide care and benefits to those “who shall have borne the battle” and fulfill our institutional I CARE Values: integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence.
That obligation and those values are sacred to me, first, as an American – a beneficiary of the service and sacrifices of Veterans and their families who defend our uniquely American freedoms and opportunities. They’re also sacred to me because my father served the nation as an Army psychiatrist, and both my grandfathers were Army Veterans. My paternal grandfather served as chief pharmacist at the VA hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, and as a young doctor, I trained in VA hospitals. So, serving the nation and serving Veterans is a family tradition.
It was a privilege to serve as VA’s Under Secretary for Health over the past year and a half. Now, I look forward to continuing our collective efforts across the department and our country to deliver the care and services our Veterans need and deserve. Among many critical efforts already underway, we will continue building on significant progress increasing access for Veterans, preventing suicide, addressing unique needs of women Veterans, supporting Veterans’ families and caregivers, continuing to drive down the disability backlog and Veteran homelessness, and pursuing necessary legislation to reform the outdated appeals process and for other critical legislative priorities.
With the support of the president, Congress, Veterans, their service organizations, and the American people, we – the dedicated employees of VA – will continue to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise.
There is no nobler mission. There is no higher calling for any American. I am humbled and proud to serve with you.