Maine State Capitol. Photo by Ramona du Houx
State lawmakers from Lewiston have sent a letter to their U.S. Congressional delegation, urging action to fill critical counseling positions at the Lewiston Veteran Center.
According to a Sun Journal report, the center is operating with less than half its authorized counseling staff, and has been without a team leader for two years, despite the previous leader giving seven months of notice before leaving.
"Failure to fill these positions with competent, qualified individuals is a serious health and safety concern for our veterans, not to mention a great disservice to those who deserve the benefits they have earned," the Lewiston lawmakers wrote.
Maine Sen. Nate Libby and Reps. Peggy Rotundo, Michel Lajoie, Heidi Brooks and Jared Golden all signed the letters, which were sent to U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, as well as U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin. The state lawmakers urged the congressional delegation to “work with all expediency and effort to bring the VA Administration's focused attention to our Veteran Center's serious staffing deficiencies,” and respectfully asked for periodic updates on this important issue.
The Veteran Center provides several services, including counseling for combat veterans and their families, as well as counseling for victims of military sexual trauma and grief counseling for family members of service men and women killed in action.