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Senator Rosen hears concerns from Northern Nevada women veterans

Rosen sits at a table listening to a woman talk. There are a couple of people facing Rosen who are out of focus with their backs to the camera.
Lucia Starbuck
KUNR Public Radio
Democratic U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen held a roundtable with women veterans in Reno, Nev., on July 7, 2023.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen listened to concerns from women veterans in Northern Nevada on July 7.

During the roundtable in Reno, the women veterans voiced concerns about the difficulty of getting help when they return home from deployment.

Although Rosen highlighted legislation passed last month to increase access to health care for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins, the veterans told her they worry it won’t go far enough.

The legislation expands VA health care eligibility to all post-9/11 combat vets exposed to burn pits. However, the veterans worry their claims still won’t be taken seriously if the exposure took place on U.S. soil.

Linda Dickinson served in the U.S. Air Force Nurse Corps during the Vietnam War era and is the chair of the independent advisory board at the Northern Nevada State Veteran's Home.

“How do you prove you’ve been exposed to chemical toxins when you weren’t in a combat zone? I was stationed in North Dakota, they used something to kill the weeds around all the missile silos. I probably was exposed to a lot of chemical toxins, but how can I prove it? I can’t,” Dickinson said.

Rosen pledged to take their concerns back to Washington, D.C.

“Sometimes you pass a big bill and then you find out where the cracks are and where people are falling through the cracks,” Rosen said. “There may need to be some follow-up legislation in order to be sure everybody gets the care they need because it was a historic bill, now we need maybe to refine it.”

Rosen also told the group that the president’s budget includes funding for a new veterans hospital in Reno.

Lucia Starbuck is an award-winning political journalist and the host of KUNR’s monthly show Purple Politics Nevada. She is passionate about reporting during election season, attending community events, and talking to people about the issues that matter most to them.
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