VP Dayish in Washington to discuss veterans issues

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Navajo Nation Vice President Frank Dayish Jr. met with Claude Allen, Assistant to President Bush on Domestic Policy, on June 29 to discuss Navajo Nation veterans issues.

The issues discussed at the half-hour meeting focused on the need for improved services for Navajo veterans, namely veterans' housing, education and training, and healthcare.

According to information released from the Navajo Department of Veterans Affairs, there are nearly 9,000 registered Navajo veterans residing within the Navajo Nation. An estimated 50 percent of Navajo veterans are unemployed, and nearly 60 percent live in substandard housing.

"It is imperative that Navajo veterans receive the benefits they are entitled to," Vice President Dayish stated during the meeting, adding that "any assistance the administration can provide the Navajo Nation with addressing veterans housing, healthcare, and training and education is deeply appreciated by the Navajo people."

Currently, the Navajo Nation is pursuing the establishment of a Veterans clinic or VA medical services within the Navajo Nation to serve rural northern Arizona veterans.

Vice President Dayish stated during the meeting that there is a great need for improved healthcare for Navajo veterans.

"Navajo veterans have to travel upwards of 600 to 800 miles round trip to receive medical services for service related disabilities. Working to locate a Veterans clinic or a mobile VA doctor to provide healthcare on the Navajo Nation would go a long way to improving health care for our Navajo warriors," Vice President Dayish said.

Additionally, Vice President Dayish stressed to the White House the concern that Navajo families have for the well being of their sons and daughters serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The families of brave warriors fighting in the War on Terrorism are very special to the Navajo Nation, when in the unfortunate event our warriors should come into harm's way, we respectfully request that the Administration continue to do all that is possible to provide accurate and timely information and to provide comfort and the appropriate services to our military families," Vice President Dayish said.

Vice President Dayish, speaking after the meeting said, "Our meeting with the White House to discuss Navajo veterans' issues is a positive step in the right direction in providing services that are needed by our Navajo veterans."

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