Ahead of the opening of Newton’s Community Base Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) for local veterans this September, U.S. Senator Cory Booker met with veterans from Warren and Sussex County to discuss what issues are important to them.
Veteran organizations from both Warren and Sussex County were an integral part of the coalition that helped bring the new VA medical clinic to Newton. Currently, Warren County veterans must travel all the way to East Orange to the Veterans Hospital there for treatment.
The organizations were invited to attend when Sen. Booker visited the Sussex County Community College campus in early August to promote the new clinic and discuss veterans’ issues. Sen. Booker was accompanied by several officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC, who offered insight into federal programs. Also in attendance were Congressmen Rodney Frelinghuysen and Scott Garrett, and representatives from Senator Mike Doherty and Assemblyman John DiMaio’s offices.
But the real stars of the day were the veterans representing various wars and backgrounds.
“We are unified today in a very important issue,” Booker, a longtime supporter of veterans’ issues, stated at the outset. “It is something that I am totally committed to. We must keep veterans’ issues at the forefront.”
He added, “You know the issues better than anybody. You know the struggles friends are going through. There is a sense of urgency in New Jersey. We have veterans who are homeless, we have suicide after suicide, and we have veterans ready and willing to work but can’t find jobs. We need to be thanking our veterans and helping them.”
Several veterans took part in a round table, with questions from the audience afterwards. Among the topics that were brought up were an insufficient number of VA officers to handle the large caseloads, limited health services for women, long wait lists for certain services, and general funding issues.