315 93rd Ave., S.W.

                                                                                         Olympia, WA 98512-9101


                                                                                         August 27, 2003

Honorable Maria Cantwell

Senator from Washington

United States Senate

Washington, D.C.


An open letter


Dear Senator Cantwell:


   Thank you for supporting veterans on the issue of closing the medical facilities.  After the Department of Veterans’ Affairs began investigating the possibility of closing its medical facilities at Vancouver, Walla Walla, and American Lake, we were relieved to learn that the American Lake facility would not be closed.  However, as you know, these facilities are already handling too many patients to provide optimal service, and the extra load imposed by closing neighboring facilities will prevent adequate service from being given anywhere.

   We do not think that this should be a partisan issue, considering the fact that we still have servicemen in harms way in Iraq and elsewhere.  It is not conscionable for any legislator to vote to eliminate medical service facilities and thereby leave wounded servicemen returning to this country without a convenient place for rehabilitation treatment.  Please let your colleagues know that all veterans are behind the efforts you and other legislators of good will are making to protect veterans from life-threatening neglect.  We will remember good deeds in subsequent elections.

Sincerely yours,

Charles W. Heckman, Dr. Sci.

Veterans’ Voting Bloc

Washington State Chapter