Veterans For Peace Save Our VA (VFP SOVA) Campaign
The privatization of the Veterans Healthcare Administration (VHA) has been an ongoing concern for many VFP members and for the VFP Board of Directors and National Office. Halting and reversing this trend has become a priority for VFP and SOVA is on the front lines of this fight.
In February of this year SOVA held a lobbying conference in Washington, D.C. to meet with members of Congress and their staff to lobby against VA privatization. SOVA met with 33 Congressional representatives to discuss the many problematic bills affecting VA funding, staffing as well as needed improvements to the system. From this effort, a national VFP SOVA Steering Committee evolved to build on the momentum created in Washington and to assist local chapters in their efforts to bring this issue to the attention of local media, Congressional delegations, and allied organizations.
The attempt by Congress and the Trump Administration to privatize the VHA through legislation such as The VA MISSION Act of 2018and its creation of a Veterans Community Care Network (VCCN) is a serious threat to the one organization dedicated to caring for those who have served their nation. The VCCN sends veterans to private sector providers who are not required to understand veterans’ complex conditions or abide by VHA’s rigorous quality standards.
The importance of the VHA to the entire nation has been demonstrated during the coronavirus pandemic as the VHA has implemented its Fourth Mission to serve as backup to the nation’s civilian sector healthcare system. It has done this admirably well, in spite of efforts to hamper it from fulfilling this mission. SOVA is dedicated to fully funding and staffing the VHA, improving its services – for example to women veterans – and fighting efforts to outsource more veteran care to the private sector.
We urge you to join our effort in any way you can, whether through a call to a Congressional representative, a letter to the editor, organizing a zoom event with your chapter, telling us your story, alerting us to developments in your area, or making a small (or large) donation to the cause. The veteran voice carries weight on Capitol Hill and together we CAN affect change at the VA. We look forward to working with you on this issue of vital importance for not only us but the health and welfare of the nation.
Outreach Subcommittee – Our mission is to encourage more local SOVA activities, to increase SOVA membership and action at the local level, and to expand the SOVA coalition to include sister organizations with overlapping goals to join in public actions, lobbying, joint articles, etc. The Outreach Committee has developed a database of over 100 VFP SOVA working group members who have been or are now participating in the SOVA campaign. The Committee will forward information to working group members to assist their efforts including sample letters to members of congress; op-eds; talking points for presentations with allied organizations; and legislative-action alerts.
Lobbying and Legislation Subcommittee – We help SOVA analyze legislation proposed in Congress, determine which legislative initiatives will strengthen and improve the VA and set the legislative agenda for the SOVA working group. This list is ever evolving due to the fast pace of the legislative landscape, but you can see our current priorities here.
Education and Media Subcommittee – This group has created many documents that educate veterans and the public about the importance of the VA healthcare system, the threats of privatization, and how they can be successfully thwarted. The group has already helped veterans’ author and place op-eds, blog posts and letters to the editor. SOVA members have appeared on national radio shows and on panels on meetings about the VA.
Events Subcommittee – Our mission is to organize educational events, speaking engagements, national lobbying conferences, and rallies. While the Covid-19 pandemic has severely limited public events, the Committee is currently working on a SOVA workshop at the VFP National Convention.
Fundraising Subcommittee – (Chairperson Vacant) The charge of the Fundraising Subcommittee is to organize fundraising campaigns, and to work with Education/Media and Events teams to execute campaigns that will help raise money for future SOVA actions.
If you have experience in fundraising and are interested in being a part of the national SOVA effort, please contact Jeff Roy at firstname.lastname@example.org.