Carper Hosts VA Deputy Secretary Tanya Bradsher at Annual Delaware Veterans Summit in Dover to Discuss Priorities for Veterans

Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), a 23-year Veteran of the Navy and the last serving Vietnam Veteran in the U.S. Senate, was joined by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Deputy Secretary Tanya Bradsher, at his annual Delaware Veterans Summit. The Delaware Veterans Summit brings together representatives from Delaware’s Veterans Service Organizations with local and national VA leaders to discuss how to better meet Veterans’ needs.

Deputy Secretary Bradsher is a combat Veteran who served for 20 years in the United States Army. After her confirmation this past September, Deputy Secretary Bradsher is the Department of Veterans Affairs first confirmed female deputy secretary and the first woman of color to hold the position. Also participating in the annual summit were Delaware’s Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, Wilmington VA Medical Center Director Vamsee Potluri, Col. Russell Gohn, Deputy Commander of the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base, Major General Frank Vavala and nearly 50 representatives from veteran organizations.

The discussion included an update on the implementation of the historic PACT Act, supported by Senator Carper and signed into law by President Biden in 2021, which expands and extends eligibility for VA health care for more than 3.5 million Veterans with toxic exposures, including Veterans of the Vietnam, Gulf War and post-9/11 eras.

“For more than two decades, I’ve brought together our Veterans and local and national VA leaders so we can discuss how to better help the 80,000 Veterans living in Delaware and the millions of Veterans around the country,” said Senator Carper. “I’m grateful that Deputy Secretary Bradsher could join us in Delaware for this important conversation, as well as the Biden Administration’s unwavering commitment to our Veterans and their families. One of the greatest things we can do to honor their service is to make sure our Veterans and their families have the benefits and support that they have earned through their service when they return home. I’m proud of our recent success with the PACT Act, and our strides to help veteran’s mental health and homelessness, but there is much more work to be done. These conversations help us prioritize our next steps to better care for Veterans and their families.”

“Working with our community partners, having open lines of communication and receiving feedback will help us continue to provide exceptional healthcare for Veterans,” said Vamsee Potluri, executive director of the Wilmington VA Medical Center. “Our goal is to provide high-quality healthcare when and where our Veterans need it.” 

Before the discussion, Senator Carper and Deputy Secretary Bradsher toured the VA’s Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Dover to meet with staff and see how the 2-year-old clinic is helping downstate Veterans receive care closer to home. The Kent County VA Clinic provides comprehensive women’s health, behavioral health, social work, lab, phlebotomy, specialty exams, audiology, otometry, radiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, telehealth including teleretinal and teledermatology, pharmacy, nutrition, specialty procedures and homeless services.