This could not have been the most comfortable experience for Betty. With how much the VA has been vilified online and in the press recently, it appeared she expected a certain amount of backlash, especially during the Q&A portion of the panel discussion. Despite this, Betty brought up some very good points.
- Transition Assistance Program (TAP): Betty stated that one of the issues that could help to keep more veterans off the streets was TAP. She said the program wasn't doing enough: "TAP needs to be a faster, more efficient process. Vets need immediate access."
- Women Veterans' Issues: Betty advocated very strongly for the female veteran and really demonstrated that the female veteran is more then just on the VA's radar - they are passionate about ensuring that all veterans get the same level of care. She commented that the number of female combat veterans has exploded over the past 10 years. She also pointed out that the largest demographic increase in women coming to the VA is not the current generation, but veterans, age 40-65.
Betty's greatest asset is her ability to listen. I was talking with her in the hallway after the panel was over. She gave me her card and asked me for my input on how I thought the VA could address their inefficiencies, what the VA could do to get more assistance to the veterans faster. I definitely plan on taking her up on that offer.