Local VA director has high hopes for newly nominated head of VA department

President-elect Donald Trump nominated the new head for the Department of Veteran Affairs, promising a change in the system.

The position affects El Paso in a big way because of the city’s strong military presence.

Dr. David Shulkin was nominated Wednesday to be the next Veterans Affairs secretary.

Right now, he is the VA’s undersecretary for health, managing nearly 2,000 healthcare sites across the country.

Trump said two of them are committed to bettering the VA system overall, especially when it comes to long wait times and the inability for some veterans to make their appointments in a timely manner.

Congressman Beto O’Rourke tweeted about his excitement over the nomination, posting a picture of him and Shulkin.

El Paso VA director Michael Amaral said he is glad to have Shulkin on his team, and thinks he will improve access to care and improve programs for El Paso veterans.

Amaral said among the biggest qualities Shulkin can bring to the office is, focus and vision.

“He’s been deeply involved with Congressman O’Rourke’s pilot project trying to improve access to care within El Paso. In fact, I’ve exchanged emails and had a couple of conference calls with him to discuss that and where we will go from there,” Amaral said.

The Senate will still need to confirm Shulkin’s nomination before it becomes final.

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