U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) issued the following statements after Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie notified them that the VA has formally rescinded its earlier record of decision to realign the VA Black Hills Health Care System, which would have significantly reduced services at the Hot Springs VA medical center.
“We dug in and held fast – through two administrations and four secretaries – to keep the Hot Springs facility open, but we would never have succeeded without the passion and persistence of Hot Springs veterans and the Hot Springs community, which rallied in support of the facility since day one,” said Thune. “I’m thankful to Secretary Wilkie for taking a serious look at South Dakota veterans’ concerns, seeing the opportunity in Hot Springs, and reversing the VA’s decision to close the facility. I look forward to celebrating with South Dakota veterans the next time I’m in ‘the Veterans’ Town,’ a title Hot Springs so richly deserves.”
“In March, Secretary Wilkie promised the delegation the Hot Springs VA would not close,” said Johnson. “The VA announcement to formally rescind its earlier record of decision which would have significantly reduced services at the Hot Springs VA is welcome news. I know our veterans will be relieved by Secretary Wilkie’s commitment after the many years of uncertainty. I’m grateful for the Administration’s decision and proud of the years of work members of the delegation have put in to ensure our veterans have the services they deserve.”
Click here for a recent op-ed Thune wrote about his near-decade-long involvement with helping to save the Hot Springs facility and here for a video he released after Secretary Wilkie visited Hot Springs earlier this year.