Head of Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs Backs Gen. Eric Shinseki

May 29, 2014

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki.
Credit U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Oregon's U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley has joined other lawmakers calling for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

In a preliminary report released Wednesday, the VA's Inspector General said delaying medical care and trying to cover it up has become systemic. Cameron Smith is the Director of the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Smith: "No doubt that we need to hold ourselves to the highest standards and continue to move the needle on outcomes across healthcare, education, employment for our veterans but I also have tremendous faith and confidence in the leadership in Secretary Shinseki. There are challenges in shifting what is a major bureaucracy, but I think he is the right one for the charge and will continue to move that forward."

Smith, a captain in the Marine Corps, was deployed to Iraq three times. According to the census, there are more than 300,000 veterans living in Oregon. Smith says the new VA medical facility being built in Eugene will greatly expand the accessibility of services to vets in the area, but improvements won't happen overnight.