LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Both Arkansas U.S. Senate candidates have weighed in on the resignation of Secretary Eric Shinseki amid the ongoing turmoil with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Democrat incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor released this statement Friday:"Secretary Shinseki is a decorated war hero, and there's no question he cares deeply about our veterans after 40 years wearing our nation's uniform. I respect his service to our country, and I respect his decision today to step down as VA Secretary in light of the disturbing treatment of veterans at facilities in Arizona and elsewhere. It's clear there's a lack of integrity within the VA system and we need to fix it immediately. We have a long road ahead, but I will deliver on my promise to get to the bottom of this for Arkansas veterans."Republican challenger Rep. Tom Cotton, an Army veteran, also released this statement:"Secretary Shinseki's resignation is an overdue first step toward the reforms needed to get our veterans the care they deserve. I'm disappointed that, as usual, Senator Pryor stuck with President Obama until the very end, but even the President realized Secretary Shinseki needed to resign. Our veterans and all Arkansans need a senator who will lead, not one who will defer to Barack Obama."Cotton called for Shinseki's resignation last week, saying there was clearly a leadership mindset and cultural problem at the VA. Pryor told reporters Thursday he was outraged by treatment delays for veterans, but he wasn't ready to call for Shinseki to resign. Pryor spoke with the directors of the Little Rock and Fayetteville VA on Thursday to determine whether any of the same abuses uncovered in recent reports occurred here in Arkansas. KATV reported on Thursday that the Little Rock VA has undergone a recent audit. Though they have not received the final report card, to the director's knowledge, the Little Rock VA is not one of the hospitals being further investigated and there have been no issues comparable to the situation in Phoenix. You can see KATV's full report here.
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