Veterans group asks for public support of nursing home project

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From LARRY LANNING
CVHC Member

The Citizens for Veterans Health Care would like to give you an update on the status of the last state veterans home. There were a lot of changes in our legislature in the last election, but there is one thing that has not changed and that is our efforts to bring the last state veterans home to Eastern Kentucky (Magoffin County). 

The CVHC is a grassroots movement of veterans and concerned citizens to gain support for a second state veterans home in Eastern Kentucky, specifically in Magoffin County. There are over 160,000 veterans which live in Eastern Kentucky that make up the 4th, 5th, and 6th congressional district and deserve a nursing home to provide adequate care and take care of their needs. A 137-bed state veterans home will bring in over 200 good-paying long-term jobs to an area that has been hardest hit economically than any other area in the state. 

Currently, there are three state veterans homes west of I-75 that support over 180,000 veterans. To build another state veterans home west of I-75, possibly in Bowling Green (Warren County), 90 beds, which veterans lose 47 beds and would put the ratio of that area to 45,000 veterans to support 1 state veterans home. 180,000/4=45,000, leaving one east of I-75, (120) beds in Hazard, Kentucky, to support over 160,000 veterans. Looking at this data and analysis, the CVHC feels the greatest need at this time is in Eastern Kentucky, preferably in Magoffin County. 

There are three bills that have been pre-filed to build a 90-bed state veterans home in Bowling Green and lose 47 beds: BR 58, BR 69 and BR 157. We hope that our legislature will not support these bills. Before the election, Representative John Short pre-filed two bills in support of our efforts: BR 200 and BR 277. Since he was not re-elected, these bills will not move forward. We have sent Representative John Blanton a letter to ask him to support our efforts and file these bills when he goes to Frankfort in the upcoming session in January 2017. We would hope that he will ask Representative William Scott Wells (Morgan/Johnson Counties) and Representative Larry Brown (Floyd County) to co-sponsor these bills. Working together we feel they can bring over 200-plus good-paying, long-term jobs to our area and take care of our veterans.

Under the first bill, no money will be allocated to build a state veterans home unless it is for 137 beds, regardless of the location. In the second bill, an at relating to the Magoffin County Veterans Center, 137 beds, making an appropriation therefor, and declaring an emergency. Authorize to the Department of Veterans Affairs federal funds and bond funds in fiscal year 2016-2017 for the construction of the Magoffin County Veterans Center nursing home; establish conditions; provide that if debt service is required it shall be a necessary government expense to be paid from the general fund surplus account or the budget reserve trust fund; APPROPRIATION EMERGENCY. 

With the aging population of our veterans, we need all of the beds that were allocated (818) for Kentucky veterans. 

You will hear comments like, “There is no application for a 137-bed state veterans home for Magoffin County.” Let me explain that. 

The commissioner cannot file two applications at the same time for the same construction project to the VA. The commissioner has not pulled the 90-bed state veterans home for Bowling Green and lose 47 beds from the VA construction list at Washington, D.C. Bowling Green is number 164 on the Group 2-8 list (no state funding), so all they need is for our legislature to pass the 35-percent funding for the project and it is a done deal, but if our legislature allocates the 35-percent funding for the construction of a 137-bed state veterans home for Magoffin County, then the commissioner will have to pull Bowling Green off the VA construction list and do the application for Magoffin County if he wants to build it. So, ask Representative John Blanton to file the bills and ask for the money.

We have sent Representative Brandon Smith, our state senator for Magoffin County (District 30) to do the same thing. Please call them and tell them to file the bills and bring over 200 good-paying long-term jobs to our area. Representative John Blanton (District 92) 606-434-8116, Senator Brandon Smith (District 30) 606-312-1420, Representaive Larry Brown www.larrydbrown2016.com (District 95 – Prestonsburg), Senator Johnny Ray Turner 502-564-6136 (District 29), Senator Ray S. Jones II 606-432-5777 (District 31), Representative Rocky Adkins 606-928-0407 (District 99 – Sandy Hook), Representative William Scott Wells 606-634-3131 (District 97 – Morgan/Johnson Counties), Representative Dr. Danny Bentley www.drdanbentley.com (District 98 – Greenup County), Senator Robin Webb 606-474-5380 (District 18- Boyd/Carter Counties).

As always, thank you for supporting our veterans and may God bless you in all that you do.