Veteran Speaks Truth to Power in Columbus Hearing

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- When James Powers got an invitation to participate in a Senate hearing about Veterans' Affairs, he decided it was time to let federal lawmakers know what was on his mind. Powers served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and was ready to provide a sitting U.S. Senator, a Congresswoman and the directors of Ohio Veterans Services and the VFW with plenty of information to fix what Powers says is broken.

"I've been prescribed medications over the years. At times, three to five medications. It began to feel like the VA doctor was increased dosage or increased number of medications and that would fix any problem," Powers said, testifying in a conference room at the Columbus Metropolitan Library downtown."

Some things that I and veterans all across this country would like for this committee to think about: tonight when we go to sleep, around 40,000 veterans will go to bed homeless," he said.

Powers says vets are being lost at a rate of twenty-two a day, 18 1/2 percent of all daily suicides. He adds, wait times of more than thirty days still exist in the clinics of the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Senator Sherrod Brown opted to take the hearing out of Washington and on the road. Brown says sweeping changes are occuring at the VA. Tuesday's hearing amounted to an opportunity to take the temperature of the people who actually use the VA's services.

James Powers, left and down from audio speaker

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