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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Former Sen. Scott Brown emerges as competition for Jeff Miller as Trump's VA pick



Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown says he wants to lead the VA under Donald Trump and met with the president-elect today in New York.

Brown's name has surfaced in recent days and provides competition for Rep. Jeff Miller.

“Obviously I think the toughest job in the Cabinet is to lead the VA, because while it has so many angels working there, it has so many great problems as well," Brown told reporters. "He is going to obviously take my application, interest under consideration.”

The following is a Q&A Brown did with reporters:

What are some areas of the VA you would improve?

It really depends on the area. There’s still high suicide, there’s still long lines. There’s still a culture of putting the soldiers as a second-class person versus making it the top priority. There have been some improvements, but there needs to be, with all due respect, a tremendous amount of work there

So what would you do?

Initially, I would obviously try to work on the suicide issues. I’d try to get folks with the mental health issues covered immediately. The VA can’t do it all. We’re going to have to outsource some of those cases to private vendors, obviously.

We gotta work with the DOD so when that veteran, soon to be veteran, actually leaves the DOD, we know what his or her needs are. There’s a breakdown there. So working with obviously the new secretary of defense would be so critical in transitioning that veteran, soon to be veteran, into the system.

I could go on for hours, so…

Did Trump offer any of his plans?  

He’s already put out his ten-point plan, he asked what my ideas were. And I just referenced, there’s just, it’ so voluminous. It’s got the second highest budget. It serves, what, almost 7-8 million people, what is it, 6-7, yeah 7 million people last year. It’s got a tremendous, employee base. There’s just so many things to do. So he was listening to my thoughts and suggestions and where I thought we could put our priorities. 

Who do you think you're competing with for the position?

I’m not competing with anybody. I think I’m the best person, but there are some tremendous people out there and I don’t look at it as a competition. Anybody who takes that job, which I believe is the toughest job in the cabinet. Because it has so many problems in that its so visible and that peoples lives are depending on whether you do it right or wrong. I think as the pres elect said, its his highest priority, and that’s why the veterans came out so strongly for him.

[Last modified: Monday, November 21, 2016 3:29pm]


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