Veterans and Military

A new wing at one of Virginia's Veterans’ Care Centers aims to reduce the number of homeless veterans, while providing quality senior services for those with declining mental and physical health.

Governor McAuliffe says a new state-funded expansion of a Richmond facility is just the beginning of several projects aimed at filling a huge void in veterans’ services and making the Commonwealth an invaluable military asset.  

  Several years and one administration ago, we reported on some of the challenges pertaining to veterans’ homelessness.  Since then, new leaders have vowed to do all they can to eliminate it within the Commonwealth. 

Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs and Retired Admiral John Harvey credits Governor McAuliffe for the initiative--and says his agency hit the ground running. One of the greatest challenges veterans describe is not receiving benefits because they don't have the proper ID.  Harvey says in some cases, they don't meet the criteria.

A bipartisan agreement unveiled by state lawmakers and Governor McAuliffe will expedite the construction of two new veterans care centers in Virginia.  To set the plan into motion, the governor proposed amendments to recently passed legislation that would have released state funding only AFTER a U.S. Veterans Affairs grant was awarded -- but state officials say such a delay is unacceptable. 

The plan sets aside $66.7 million in state bonds to construct the centers.  McAuliffe said the federal funds requested by Virginia exceeded the amount allocated for the entire nation.  

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Of nearly 780 detainees brought to a military prison at Guantanamo Bay, most have been sent back to their countries without charges being filed.  Nine died in detention.  After 5 Yemeni prisoners were released to Estonia and Oman yesterday, 122 now remain, and more than half could be released if the Obama administration finds a country that will take them.  Sandy Hausman spoke with Michael Lehnert, a retired Marine General who served for many years in Virginia before building the prison at GTMO.

University of Richmond

Major General Michael Lehnert spent  years commanding U.S. Marines in Virginia – but he also spent a hundred days at Guantanamo Bay – building and running a prison for alleged terrorists captured in Afghanistan.  

Legal experts told the Bush administration that GTMO  was not American soil, so our legal protections would not apply there.

Lehnert told an audience at the University of Richmond that he often disagreed with the White House.

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