Veterans give lawmakers an earful in town hall meeting

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — “Today we want to hear from you on what your issues are as veterans,” Tennessee State Representatives G.A. Hardaway told a crowded room of veterans Tuesday morning at the main library.

Hardaway and Tennessee Representative Karen Camper welcomed the veterans and planned to record their testimonies about conditions at the Memphis V.A. Medical Center, but after an hour of introductions, many vets got frustrated.

“We have been here for an hour. We haven’t gotten one issue settled,” said one veteran.

When the vets were told their testimonies were needed as evidence, things settled down and the vets told of long waits and inadequate care at the Memphis V.A.

“I was misdiagnosed and I was given medical treatment for things I did not have,” said Veteran James Liggins.

“I guess that’s the story. I am pretty tired of fighting,” said another veteran.

The lawmakers said they want to show a pattern of problems .

“If you have a hundred people going and you see similar problems, that sends a message,” said Rep. Camper.

Lawmakers  say the state may be able to offer vets waivers and even check the licenses of V.A. doctors.

Still, they understand the frustration.

” My vision was to hear from the veterans. They don’t want to hear from us. They have heard from us,” Camper said.

“The process here is just talking. It’s a nice political event, but I don’t think it’s serving the veterans,” Navy Veteran Roy Jackson said.

“Just bringing the awareness here to the city is a spring-board for around the country. Give us our fair, our just do,” Army Veteran Mark Lesure said.

Although some of the vets were very frustrated, most of them did get to tell their stories and the lawmakers stayed, listened, and recorded their problems.

They plan to compile a report to send to federal leaders.

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