Buttigieg wants to name first female VA secretary

Buttigieg wants to name first female VA secretary
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegBiden: Buttigieg 'doesn't have significant black support even in his own city' Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades Biden rallies with John Kerry in early primary states MORE said in a recent interview that if elected president, he wants to name the country’s first female Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) secretary.

“I think leadership plays a huge role so absolutely I’d seek to name a woman to lead VA,” the South Bend, Ind., mayor said in an interview with The Associated Press published on Veterans Day in which he also discussed issues that continue to persist for women in the military, such as sexual assault and health care.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE "has let veterans down,” Buttigieg, who previously served in the Navy Reserves, added. 

Buttigieg also vowed to have the current VA motto — which former President Lincoln affirmed was “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan” — changed amid concerns from critics who say the statement excludes women in the military.

Buttigieg told the news service he would have the motto changed to “fairly represent the diversity of service members and veterans."

He also said in the interview that he would consider naming a woman to serve as Defense secretary for the first time ever. 

His campaign released a plan on Monday geared toward veterans' needs and support for those currently serving in the military that also includes a section dedicated to eliminating “barriers to women’s success in the armed forces.”

The plan says Buttigieg would "ensure women have the tools needed to effectively serve their nation and institute new systems for accountability to reduce sexual assault and gender discrimination.”

“He will support full integration and a better, independent process to report and obtain justice for sexual assault,” his campaign added in the plan. “Pete will also ensure women’s health needs, including reproductive care, are accessible while they serve.”

The expansive plan also seeks to “streamline access to medical care by creating a veteran-centric VA” and “guarantee access to mental health care and suicide prevention.”