VA Boss: Political Challenges Tougher Than Expected:

Secretary McDonald, now in his last year as secretary of Veterans Affairs as President Obama wraps up his administration, expected that there would be challenges when he took the job.
He assumed the position 18 months ago amidst a major scandal involving long patient wait times and veterans dying while waiting for appointments. At the same time, there was the widely known backlog of disability claims applications — with some veterans waiting years for a decision — and persistent delays and cost overruns with a major VA medical center in Colorado.
What the former head of international consumer giant Procter & Gamble, one-time airborne soldier and West Point grad did not expect was unrelenting political attacks from Congress and elsewhere — including, he believes, a veterans group backed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.
“I think the biggest surprise was the politics,” he told during a recent interview at the VA Medical Center in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. “Remember, I was confirmed 97 to zero. I thought I would focus on just getting better care for veterans, so the politics has been surprising to me. I don’t like politics, I’m not going to be a politician, I’m not running for anything.”
But McDonald’s dislike for politics and lack of political ambition, coupled with a comfortable, stable life made possible by a successful career with P&G, provides him “the freedom to do what is right” regardless of whatever pressure is exerted, he said.
“I don’t need the money. I don’t need the position,” he said. “I’m sacrificing, in a sense, to do this, but it’s not a sacrifice because it’s for my brothers and sisters who served. I’ve got no other agenda.”
If you have heard Secretary McDonald speak he always stetes, “if you have a problem with the VA that cannot be resolved through proper channels, contact me”. I can tell you from personal experience that Secretary McDonald will respond if the matter is significant.

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