BATON ROUGE – Representatives from 49 states, including Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA) Secretary Joey Strickland, participated in the White House Veterans Affairs Conference held in Washington, D.C. this week.
LDVA Secretary Joey Strickland is no stranger to VA, having served for more than 15 years as either Director or Deputy Secretary in two states. He was invited to attend by the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and was among a select group of other state and local leaders asked to collaborate via this platform.
The White House Veterans Affairs Conference included Cabinet secretaries and senior White House staff from the National Economic Council. Issues related to veterans’ public policy were discussed.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, M.D., said this conference was very beneficial because multiple agencies, including Health and Human Services, Labor, and Defense were all able to work together.
Shulkin said, “We want to ask whether the veterans in their community are getting the services they need. What more can the federal government be doing to help them? How can we essentially address issues related to veteran suicide and decreasing veteran suicide?”
Suicide Prevention was one of several issues talked about during the conference. LDVA Secretary Joey Strickland specifically attended breakout sessions to learn about what more can be done to address Veteran homelessness.
Secretary Strickland was also able to meet one-on-one with Thomas G. Bowman, Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs about specific issues pertaining to Louisiana’s Veterans, specifically the VA Choice Card Program, Suicide Prevention, and Homeless Veterans.
“I enjoyed discussing potential policies and programs with other key personnel from across the country so that we may formulate laws and programs here in Louisiana that ensure our military men and women receive the care, resources and respect they deserve for defending our country and way of life,” Strickland said.
Vice President Mike Pence and Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also spoke to the assembled Veteran leaders about veterans’ public policy issues.