Jackie Walorski

Jackie Walorski

INDIANA's 2nd DISTRICT

Rep. Walorski seeks input from veterans and veterans advocates ahead of new VA bill implementation

2014/08/18

GOSHEN — U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski thinks heads need to roll and people need to be jailed over the brouhaha related to care of veterans atU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities. Numerous veterans reportedly died while awaiting care at a Phoenix VA health facility, which sparked a national debate and led to the signing by President Obama last week of a reform bill to improve health care delivery at VA hospitals and clinics. It’s been a priority issue for Walorski, who took part in last Thursday’s signing ceremony, and it’s the focus of numerous planned stops she’ll make in the 2nd District during the House’s August recess, before formal proceedings resume in Washington, D.C., next month. "I think people need to go to prison,” she said Monday, Aug. 11, during a visit to the VA health clinic in Goshen. “I think a lot of people need to be fired at that executive level.” The new $16.3 billion VA bill aims to speed health care delivery to veterans, opening up options for veterans in rural areas and veterans who face waits of over 30 days to see doctors. It also contains a provision allowing for the firing of poor performing executives. More generally, Walorski, a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said she’s trying to gather feedback from VA reps in the 2nd District ahead of implementation of the VA measure. She had other planned meetings Monday with veterans advocates in LaPorte, Knox and Winamac and intends on holding a “veterans roundtable” before the August recess ends. “I want to make sure when I go back to D.C. in September, with the passage now of a new bill that gives us a new open door, that we get everything we need in our district to serve our veterans when it comes to health,” she said. She also hopes to garner input on what veterans need, beyond just improved health care. ”We’re all over the district to say, from a holistic perspective, what do our veterans need, for better quality of life and to remain productive and to have the promises fulfilled that the country made to them,“ she said. Denise Deitzen, director of the VA’s Northern Indiana Health Care System, met with Walorski Monday as part of her visit. The Northern Indiana Health Care System, based in Fort Wayne, is the umbrella group that oversees the Goshen clinic and other northern Indiana VA facilities. ”I am very excited about the passing of this law,“ Deitzen said. Among the key issues here, she said, are making sure construction of aplanned new clinic in South Bend moves ahead and increasing funding for mental health care and care coordination. Funding is locked in for the South Bend project, originally to have been completed in 2015, but construction is on hold, she said. Read More

Plymouth Vietnam vets meet with congresswoman Jackie Walorski

2014/08/18

PLYMOUTH -After decades of neglect and oversight, it seems Uncle Sam is finally turning his ear, making good on the promise to take care of soldiers returning from war.  The VA has announced more than 60 Indiana counties will be getting $4.6 million in grants. The money will go towards fighting homelessness among former and returning soldiers. This comes on the heels of the a sweeping bill last week to overhaul the VA.  In Plymouth, Indiana Congresswoman (Republican) Jackie Walorski met with local veterans to talk about what is, and what isn't, working in her district.  "So help me I'm not gonna walk into a hospital unless I need it, said Vietnam army veteran Larry Kareichbaum. His kidneys are failing, something he attributes to Agent Orange exposure. Now he visits a hospital three times a week for dialysis.  "I'm not a beggar," said Kareichbaum. "But I gave my youth to the government. And I was proud of it. And now I'm an old man and I got dialysis, and health problems. I'd like a little bit of that back." Kareichbaum joined three other veterans at senior living facility Miller's Merry Manor in Plymouth today to meet with Walorski.  "Most states in this country can't relate to the number of veterans that Indiana has," said Walorski. "Which means that we take it seriously."     Walorski sits on the committee charged with overhauling the VA. "Just because the president signed the bill," said Walorski. "And we have a new VA secretary, doesn't mean this fight is over. I sit on the committee of jurisdiction. Our work is just beginning." One of Walorski's biggest issues moving forward will be getting younger vets to enroll in the VA as soon as they leave active service, even if they're healthy and have private insurance.  Another gap Walorski says the government needs to fix is access to care in rural areas.   "You just don't go down to Indianapolis to Roudebush and walk in the door, turn around, and walk out two minutes later," said Vietnam army veteran Roy Thomas. "You're there all day." Thomas suffers from oral and throat cancer - also likely caused by Agent Orange exposure. He served in the same infantry alongside Kareichbaum. He says his fellow vets should be able to visit local hospitals if they live further than 40 miles from a VA center. "There ain't no doctors here that can't do whatever..." said Thomas. Despite a homecoming from Vietnam fraught with under-appreciation and neglect, all of the vets said they felt hopeful after Walorski's visit.   Read More

Veteran meets Walorski on tour

2014/08/18

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-2nd District, stopped by Ivy Tech Community College in Rochester Tuesday as part of her “Hoosier Veterans Tour.” She discussed the Post 9-11 GI Bill, legislation she supported, that expands educational opportunities for veterans. Melissa Dwight and Brenda Hamilton were there representing Ivy Tech Kokomo and Logansport campuses as the veterans affairs advisers. Dwight said veterans are living with the demons of the past, living with current demons in everyday life, and so it can be a difficult struggle to come back and focus on school. The Kokomo campus employs veterans “so a veteran can walk in the office and have somebody they can relate to,” Dwight told Walorski about veterans using the GI Bill’s education benefits. Part of Walorski’s two-day tour included a stop at Alcoa in LaPorte. Walorski said the company matches up veterans’ skills with how they will match up for use in civilian companies. Walorski said it’s time to address the mental health care aspect for veterans. Rochester resident and veteran Kevin Morrow was at the Rochester Learning Center. He said he’s a brittle diabetic and requires an insulin pump. He said he’s at the top of the list for a new FDA-approved pump, but he doesn’t think it’s available to veterans yet. “The VA is very slow when it comes to adapting to new technology,” Walorski said, because the system is so big. She told Morrow she will go back to Washington and say they need to get the VA to fast track things when it comes to new health care. “We get a lot of complaints in the district office about chronic pain management,” she said. Walorski said, “I think the solution will end up being community based,” in reference to how and where veterans can receive medical care. She said the VA committee, of which she is a member of, is “one of the most bi-partisan committees” because members have fought to be on the committee and they’re fighting for veterans. On Thursday Walorski attended the presidential billsigning ceremony for H.R. 3230, the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Tranparency Act. She told Morrow she will come back to her Rochester office and meet with him to discuss resolving the problems regarding his veteran benefits. Read More

Walorski stops in La Porte County For “Hoosier Veterans Tour”

2014/08/18

Congresswoman Jackie Walorski stopped in La Porte Monday at Alcoa Howmet as part of the “Hoosier Veterans Tour,” a district-wide tour. During the visit to Alcoa, Walorski toured the facility with La Porte Mayor Blair Milo, who is a U.S. Navy veteran.   “I want to extend my appreciation to Alcoa Howmet, for making products our military utilizes and for hiring our Hoosier soldiers, who are among the best and brightest in the Armed Forces. Our men and women have made our state proud for decades by answering the call to serve and Alcoa is another example of a Hoosier company helping translate skills from the military to the civilian workplace,” Walorski said. She visited the facility during her two-day district tour in recognition of the 54,000 veterans that live in the 2nd Congressional District. Over the course the tour, Walorski, a member of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Conference Committee and member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, will tour VA faculties that provide care to veterans, businesses that hire veterans and companies that make products to support veterans. “From Elkhart to Warsaw, I’m traveling to every corner of northern Indiana to see what tools our communities need to improve the lives the 54,000 veterans in my district. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to tour local VA facilities and talk to employers that hire and make products for veterans. I’ll also have a chance to discuss the law that was signed last week that will help veterans in rural areas in need of care,” said Walorski. Last week, President Obama signed H.R. 3230, the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act, which Walorski supported as a House conferee. The legislation was drafted in response to news across the country that veterans requesting doctor appointments were put on long waiting lists which resulted in many VA facilities falsifying and covering up wait times. The new law, which passed the House and Senate last week with overwhelming bipartisan support, gives veterans greater access to health care if they live in a rural area or must wait over 30 days to see a doctor. In addition, it provides funding for additional doctors, nurses and healthcare workers. Lastly, it gives the Secretary the authority to fire poorly performing executives, just like any other company, which is almost impossible to do under the current system. Read More

Congresswoman Walorski Visits Veterans at Miller’s Assisted

2014/08/18

U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Walorski stopped at Miller’s Assisted Living during her Veterans Tour through counties in her district. She arrived at Miller’s on Tuesday precisely at noon and greeted the Miller’s residents while they enjoyed their mid-day meal. After spending time greeting and visiting with those in attendance she then joined a group of veterans in the facility Recreation Center. Walorski talked about the bill that has been signed into law that will begin to reform the Department of Veteran Affairs(VA). “While in Congress I have worked with my colleagues on a number of initiatives to provide veterans with better access to the services and benefits they have earned”, stated Walorski. She then listened while the veterans present shared their experiences and concerns with the VA. Walorski responded to their concerns in a genuine and caring manner while her assistant took notes on problems Walorski promised to address. Walorski also reminded the veterans they “are not in this alone”. Any veteran who has a problem and is not getting results was invited to call Walorski’s office and ask for help. Walorski assured them “that’s what we are here for”.   Read More

Walorski visits Peru VA clinic

2014/08/18

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Elkhart, visited Peru’s Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) for veterans Tuesday morning as part of her two-day “Hoosier Veterans Tour.” Walorski said the visit was “a follow-up” on $16.3 billion legislation that overhauled the Veterans Affairs Department. Read More

Vets share stories of good care, long waits

2014/08/18

CLAYPOOL – About 20 military veterans sat on a circle of chairs in a barn Tuesday afternoon with U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski. They shared stories of their frustrations with trying to access health care services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Walorksi, R-2nd, is a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Late in the session, the host of the gathering said members of the crowd had to admit that they have had good VA experiences, too. “I’ve got an excellent doctor right now,” one man replied, “but I can never get in to see him.” Walorski talked about visiting the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, where she spoke with every patient in the waiting room. “By and large, what most of these guys and women said was, ‘I like the VA system when I get into it, but trying to get into it was a bear,’ ” Walorski said. Tuesday’s bull session in southern Kosciusko County was Walorski’s last event in two days of meetings with veterans and tours of VA facilities in her district. Last week, she and others in Congress joined President Barack Obama as he signed into law a bill aimed at improving the delivery of VA health and education benefits. Among other things, the VA legislation will allow veterans to seek non-VA medical treatment if they must wait more than 30 days for VA care or drive farther than 40 miles to a VA clinic. The law is a response to reports of preventable patient deaths, medical treatment delays, fraudulent recordkeeping and backlogs of benefits claims at VA facilities around the nation. Brad Spratt, 49, of Silver Lake told The Journal Gazette he spent 22 years in the Army and National Guard and did three combat tours of Iraq. He said VA denied his 2009 medical claims for sleep apnea and tinnitus, so he promptly filed an appeal. He learned in May, five years after his appeal, that one of the two claims had been approved. “Overall, I’m very satisfied with the VA,” Spratt said. “I just don’t understand the timeline.” VA benefits are “no different than a pension,” he said. “The government said, ‘Hey, if you join the service and defend your country, … we’re going to do this for you.’ They need to live up to that, because people are counting on that.” Earlier, Walorski, who is opposed in the Nov. 4 election by Democrat Joe Bock and Libertarian Jeff Petermann, told the gathering that she and her staff tend to veterans issues in her district “like a fly on honey.” “But it shouldn’t have to be that way,” she said. “I can’t call, you know, 54,000 cases myself. So (VA leaders) have to come up with a standard that is workable. … They have to come up with a standard of excellence.” She said VA improvements will happen because of the public outcry for them. “The only reason we’re sitting here today, in this barn, is because the American people rose up to the president, to the secretary of the VA and to the Congress and said, ‘Enough is enough, hell no, stop this.’ That’s what changed this issue.” bfrancisco@jg.net Read More

Walorski Attends Presidential Bill-Signing Ceremony to Reform the VA and Help America’s Veterans

2014/08/07

WASHINGTON D.C. – After months of hearings and investigations detailing falsified medical records, long wait times and preventable deaths, Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02) attended a bill signing ceremony today where President Obama signed legislation into law that will begin to reform the Department of Veteran Affairs(VA). “Today is proof that working together can open the door to reforms. Our brave men and women protected our country and we need to protect them. I’m proud to have been a part of a conference committee where my colleagues put politics aside for the greater good of our vets.  While today marks an important step forward in changing the culture at the VA, our work is far from over. Now, we need to roll up our sleeves and work with Secretary McDonald to ensure the VA makes the necessary changes to provide vets can the care they deserve. H.R. 3230, the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act, which Walorski supported as a House conferee, was drafted in response to news across the country that veterans requesting doctor appointments were put on long waiting lists which resulted in many VA facilities falsifying and covering up wait times.  The new law, which passed the House and Senate last week with overwhelming bipartisan support, gives veterans greater access to health care if they live in a rural area or must wait over 30 days to see a doctor. In addition, it provides funding for additional doctors, nurses and healthcare workers. Lastly, it gives the Secretary the authority to fire poorly performing executives, just like any other company, which is almost impossible to do under the current system. Watch the bill signing here. Rep. Jackie Walorski attends a bill-signing ceremony today where President Barack Obama signed H.R. 3230, a bill to improve the Veterans Affairs health care system, into law at Fort Belvoir, Va. Courtesy of: EJ HERSOM/DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE   Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she has served on as a member of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Conference Committee and member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.   Read More

Reminder: Congresswoman Walorski Staff Office Hours

2014/08/06

MISHAWAKA, IN – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) reminded constituents today that a member of her staff will be holding office hours this week and next to assist constituents with casework and official business.  Residents who cannot attend the listed office hours are encouraged to contact Brian Spaulding at (574) 780-1330 to schedule an appointment. For more information on Congresswoman Walorski and available Congressional services and resources, please visit: http://walorski.house.gov/services/additional-services-and-resources. Tuesday, August 12 Goshen Chamber of Commerce (Conference Room) 232 S. Main Street Goshen, Indiana 3:00 PM - 5:00 PM Wednesday, August 13 La Porte Parks and Recreation Building (Conference Room) 250 Pine Lake Ave. La Porte, Indiana 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM Central Time   ### Read More

Walorski Announces Veterans Tour

2014/08/04

Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) announced that next week she will conduct a veterans tour of counties in her district. As part of the tour, Walorski plans to hear from Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials, veterans and companies that employ veterans.  For details, please contact Lindsay Jancek at 202-225-3915 http://walorski.house.gov/VetsTour ### Read More

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Contact Information

419 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3915
Fax 202-225-6798
walorski.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Budget

Veterans Affairs

Armed Services

Jackie Walorski is a lifelong Hoosier born and raised in South Bend.

Jackie has dedicated her career to helping Hoosier families. As the daughter of an Air Force Veteran and South Bend Firefighter, Jackie learned the value of public service at a young age. Her parents also established a family-owned appliance repair shop, teaching Jackie the challenges and fulfillment of operating a small business.

Jackie attended Riley High School and graduated with a BA from Taylor University.  As her first job out of college, she worked as a reporter for WSBT-TV, covering community issues ranging from education to crime.  Inspired to get more involved in the education system, Jackie later worked as a Development Director for local colleges and universities to improve educational access for Hoosier students.

In 1995, she married her husband Dean, a Mishawaka schoolteacher and jazz musician.  Shortly after, the couple moved abroad to Romania for 4 years, founding their own agency and local foundation to help provide much-needed medical supplies to the country’s impoverished children.

Jackie is grateful to serve the people of Indiana’s Second District in the 113th Congress, where she serves on the House Armed Services, Budget, and Veterans’ Affairs Committees. She is honored to serve the brave men and women of our Armed Forces in many ways, including improved support for our nation’s veterans. Using some Hoosier common sense, Jackie welcomes the opportunity to work across the aisle to get our fiscal house in order and create American jobs.

Jackie currently resides in Jimtown with her husband Dean, mother Martha, and their 3 dogs.


Serving With

Marlin Stutzman

INDIANA's 3rd DISTRICT

Todd Rokita

INDIANA's 4th DISTRICT

Susan Brooks

INDIANA's 5th DISTRICT

Luke Messer

INDIANA's 6th DISTRICT

Larry Bucshon

INDIANA's 8th DISTRICT

Todd Young

INDIANA's 9th DISTRICT

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