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Episode 16: Compassion & Accountability with Kate Germano


Happy Thanksgiving, 2 Vets family!

Does anyone know the answer to Andrea's question: is there such a thing as latke-flavored ice cream? If not, who's in on our first 2 Vets-themed business model?

Election re-cap:

NY-11: (Not Upstate) Veteran Max Rose wins!

NY-19: Antonio Delgado, pod guest, wins!

NY-21: Veteran and incumbent Elise Stefanik is re-elected.

NY-22: Anthony Brindisi wins! NY-23: Tom Reed is re-elected, again.

NY-24: Incumbent John Katko narrowly re-elected over Dana Balter.

NY-25: Joe Morelle wins the seat previously held by the late Louise Slaughter.

NY-27: "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" Indicted Republican Chris Collins wins a narrow election over Nate McMurray.

We need to talk about what’s going on at the VA, specifically with the GI Bill. Many veterans are experiencing delays well in excess of 30 days to receive their GI Bill housing stipend. This is due to a massive failure in IT mismanagement after the VA claims it was unprepared for the “Forever GI Bill” changes in calculation of benefits.

Roger was at a recent House VA Subcommittee on hearing, where Ranking Member Beto O’Rourke stood up strongly for veterans. He was struck by how cavalier and dismissive Paul Lawrence, who is the Undersecretary of Veterans of Affairs for Benefits, was throughout the hearing. He refused to give Congress a timeline for when the VA IT system would be able to handle veterans claims. He did not have a basic understanding of exactly how many veterans were missing housing payments in excess of 30 days. And he attacked the reporting of the problem in the media, only offering what sounded like a weak, forced acceptance of responsibility once prodded by Congressman O’Rourke.

***If you are having problems with GI Bill payments, please contact the VA and let them know. Post your interactions on social media if you can, to let other vets know how they went and what to expect. The more vocal we are about what’s going on, the more veterans will feel confident in coming forward and claiming the benefits that they have earned.

***And if you’re having trouble making ends meet because of these missing payments, reach out to your local Veterans Service Organizations who can absolutely help you in extremis. They can either help you directly, or point you in the direction of somebody who can. Nobody in Upstate NY should be left behind here, so if you’re listening to this and you’re on the fence - or know somebody who is - drop us a line and we can stand up for you.

Our Guest: Kate Germano

Called 'too tough for the Marine Corps', Kate Germano made headlines in Spring 2015 when she took a principled stand and confronted systemic problems of gender bias and lowered expectations for women in the Marine Corps. A 20-year career Marine and combat veteran, she fought back and became a national figure by speaking out against discrimination and advocating for higher expectations and standards for women in the military. Her writing has been published in national media outlets to include the New York Times, Washington Post, San Diego Union Tribune, Time Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, and more. She has also been featured on NPR, CSPAN, and PBS Newshour.

Our theme music: "Hudson River Dreamboat" performed by the Special Pillow, written by Dan Cuddy (c) Superb Rain Songs (BMI), administered by Rough Trade Publishing. The tune is covered under a Creative Commons license. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/