HARLINGEN, August 7 - Congratulations to attorney Filemon Vela on his recent victory in the Democratic primary election for Congressional District 34.
It appears that he is very confident and he is already working as if he were a member of Congress. He has that positive attitude and it’s warranted because few feel that his Republican challenger in November will not be too much of a threat.
Vela’s recent trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with other members of Congress is an indication that he is ready and willing to work. He is considered the favorite in the November general election because CD 34 has an inbuilt Democratic majority.
I would like to relay this message to Mr. Vela. The following elected officials of the present Congress, at one time or another, have promised local veterans help in obtaining a full service medical center for south Texas. They are Representatives Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., when she was House Speaker, during a visit to McAllen, Bob Filner, D-Calif., when he was chair of the Veterans Committee, Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, Charlie Gonzalez, D-Texas, Rubén Hinojosa, D-Texas, Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, Ron Paul, R-Texas, Ed Pastor, D-Ariz., Joe Baca, D-Calif., Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, and Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz. Also, Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., and Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., when they visited Brownsville a few years back.
Veterans feel that Mr. Vela could be the impetus needed to move the issue of a Veterans Affairs hospital forward for south Texas veterans. He has stated that he supports veterans and what better way to prove it then by moving this issue through the Veterans Affairs organization. Mr. Vela should contact and meet with Congressman Cuellar and work together to find a means of making sure that the VA’s Strategic Capital Investment Plan (SCIP) includes the expansion of the present VA Surgical Center in Harlingen to a Full Service Medical Center.
He should also meet with Congressman Blake Farenthold to discuss how the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Congressman Jeff Miller, can help with the issue. Farenthold was able to bring Miller to Corpus Christi to meet with veterans. Miller also helped Cuellar to get his HB 1318 - which proposed adding language on a VA hospital for South Texas to SCIP - attached to the Military and Veterans Affairs Construction and Other Related Agencies Appropriations bill (HB 2005).
Mr. Vela, veterans in South Texas need your help.
Arturo 'Treto' Garza, a resident of Harlingen, Texas, served as a Marine in the Vietnam War and is a former co-chair of the Veteran’s Alliance of the Rio Grande Valley. He now writes in an individual capacity and not on behalf of the Veteran’s Alliance. His Veteran's Voice column appears exclusively in the Guardian.