(Washington, DC) – At a U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs nominations hearing, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today applauded Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Linda Spoonster Schwartz for tirelessly fighting for veterans. Schwartz has been nominated to be the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Video of Blumenthal’s remarks is here; a transcript of his remarks is below.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you for giving me this opportunity to introduce to the Committee Linda Spoonster Schwartz who serves currently as the Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Connecticut. And, let me just say, I want to thank Commissioner Schwartz for her extraordinary service to our nation and to the state of the Connecticut – in uniform and as a state official, and now, I am very confident, as a member of the VA team at the national level.
“Linda Schwartz and I have worked together closely on a number of issues. I’ve been honored to serve and work with her as Attorney General as now as a Senator. So I know her well, and I cannot recommend her highly enough to be Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning at the VA.
“She was appointed commissioner in 2003, reappointed twice, and she has worked, Mr. Chairman, for governors of both parties. She is truly a bipartisan public servant. And her life is deeply rooted in her work as a nurse – both in the Air Force and the civilian world. She served our country for 16 years in the Air Force.
“She’s worked on so many different issues that I hesitate even to name any of them, because the breadth and scope of her commitment to our nation’s veterans is truly remarkable. She has served on advisory committees to the Secretary of the VA, including committees on homeless veterans, readjustment for combat veterans, women veterans, and seriously mentally ill veterans. And she was the first woman elected president of the National Association of Veterans Affairs.
“I’ve worked with her on a number of issues, including, for example, bringing together a national veterans organization to hear the concerns and health issues of Vietnam-era veterans with Agent Orange-related illnesses. We also made sure Connecticut veterans have been able to utilize their post-9/11 GI Bill federal and state benefits.
“On these and many other issues what she has been, Mr. Chairman, is a tireless advocate, a relentless fighter, for our veterans and a personal emissary to each and every one of them. She has a heart and a mind that is open to every single veteran no matter what their circumstances – whether they are homeless, or recovering addicts, or members of the boards of directors of Fortune 500 organizations. They are equal in her view. And she deals with them all as individual human beings who have served our country and who deserve both the compassion and the benefits that they are entitled to receive.
“And I am very, very confident that she will serve in this position with distinction, and recommend her as highly as possible to this Committee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”