Report on SOVA Activities at the VFP 34th Annual Convention

August 30, 2019

Report and pictures submitted by Skip Delano

SOVA Tabling, August 15-18



Most of the literature we distributed is available at the National VFP website under Save Our VA.


SOVA Workshop, Friday, August 16

Title: How Can Veterans Unite Our Campaign to Stop Privatization of VA Healthcare With Progressives Fighting for Universal Health Care for All Americans in 2020

Suzanne Gordon, Author Dan Shea, VF/SOVA Activist Ann-Marie Lunnetta,
NNU Organizer

Not able to summarize what each speaker said but will include a short part of the Moderator's comments:

Our fight to Save VA Healthcare has JUST BEGUN. As the 2020 elections come closer the fight for universal healthcare is being debated by millions of Americans.

We veterans can play a leading role in this debate by saying to all Americans there is a SUCCESSFUL MODEL to America's healthcare crisis. VA HEALTHCARE IS already up and running, right here in America. We CAN SAY to all Americans that VA healthcare is a model
for universal healthcare for all Americans.

The VA's success in delivering healthcare to veterans demonstrates that public institutions –

NINE MILLION OF US VETERANS have the right to FULLY guaranteed, quality healthcare benefits. NOW WE CAN JOIN OUR FIGHT to Save Our VA Healthcare from privatization with the battle that millions of our brothers and sisters are waging for all Americans to have quality heathcare as a RIGHT just like us veterans.

WE VETERANS can say the fight for universal healthcare for all Americans is MORALLY RIGHT and brings us closer to establishing the principle that access to guaranteed, quality healthcare is a RIGHT FOR ALL AMERICANS!


SOVA After-Workshop Meeting, August 16

At dinnertime we had a SOVA meeting with about 15 activists present. We discussed various ideas about how SOVA activists might take our battle into the election campaign much like Boston VFP member Pat Scanton did at a Cory Booker event in New Hampshire on August 17.


Here's Pat's email:

I attended a backyard meet and greet with Corey Booker in NH on Saturday. I took a copy of Suzanne Gordan's book "Wounds of War" with me and wore our Save Our VA T-shirt. There were about 180 people there. After speaking for about 1/2 hour he opened it up for questions. I luckily was called on first. I was able to give Corey a copy of Suzanne's book. He asked me to explain the Mission Act and handed me the mic (that could have been a big mistake). I briefly explained what the Mission Act was and why it was detrimental to veterans. If I had known that he was going to do that I would have been better prepared. At the end of the exchange he publicly stated that when he is president he will stop the privatization of the VA. We need to get all the candidates to make similar statements. We are trying to get to as many of the top tier candidates as possible.

Attached is a U-tube copy of that interaction. This was taken by a local TV station. Corey's pledge to stop privatization is not on this piece, it was edited just prior to his comment. I am waiting for another version that may contain that commitment.

We discussed several other ideas and had a debate over if the country adopted a plan for universal healthcare for all Americans what would happen to VA healthcare? Would veterans give up their VA healthcare or would remain like it is today? Most agreed we would fight for continued VA healthcare but it raised a question of exactly what would happen if American adopted universal healthcare for all Americans. But no one had a clear answer and it appears no organization has developed a blueprint for such a situation. We agreed to search for an answer. Suzanne Gordon, Hugh Foy and Rick Staggenborg agreed to lead up a SOVA Task Force to investigate the issues and propose a solution to how VA healthcare would continue when America adopts a universal healthcare program.


VFP BUSINESS MEETING, Saturday, August 17

Stop VA Privatization, Fix, Fund & Fully Staff the VA Work Group Members Buzz Davis, John Spitsberg and David Cooley circulated two Resolutions prior to the VFP Convention and won the endorsement of several VFP chapters and many individual VFP members --

Resolution 2019-3, VFP Urges Congress, Expand VA Healthcare to All Veterans & Family Members and Resolution

2019-4, VFP Urges Congress Repair/Repeal Parts of MISSION Act.

Both Resolutions won unanimous support from both the VFP Board of Directors and the general membership when they were introduced at the Business meeting. The resolutions will be mailed to the VFP membership for voting along with election ballots for the VFP Board of Directors later.

Two SOVA activists, Skip Delano and John Spitzberg, announced they are candidates in the election for the VFP Board of Directors.


SOVA Protest at Spokane VA Hospital, Sunday, August 18


SOVA Activists Marching Outside the Spokane VA Hospital & Chanting