By Chris Cauhapé
On Wednesday September 4, Congressman Rúiz M.D. held a forum for veterans of U.S. Armed Forces and their family members at the Herman Granados American Legion Hall in Indio. Over 100 people attended the meeting to discuss veterans’ affairs with the first year representative who represents the eastern portion of Riverside County from Moreno Valley to the Arizona border.
Topics discussed included cuts to the defense budget, problems in communication that veterans have in understanding exactly what they are entitled to and what steps must be taken to receive such benefits. Understaffing at the Loma Linda Veterans’ Hospital and the satellite office in Palm Desert, transportation, backlog of paperwork on all levels, unemployment, medical and dental services and education were also discussed. The last topic was the situation in Syria.
Attendees rated the communication problems and red tape issues as the number one problem that should be resolved. Ranked number two was health services or lack thereof. Number three was education followed by unemployment. It was suggested that all service members be indoctrinated as to veteran’s benefit just prior to leaving active duty.
At the end of the meeting Dr. Rúiz made this statement on Syria. “I believe that the use of chemical warfare is absolutely a gross atrocity that needs repercussions and needs to be dealt with.” He added that he doesn’t want to see Syria evolve into a repeat of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.