Veterans Rally on Capital Steps

"What is allowed to happen here in the town that houses our state capitol, our governor, our legislature is a rotten shame," that was the refrain heard again and again on the steps of the state capital from speakers like Mike Hampton of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.

Veterans rallied together to call attention to the dilapidated Arkansas Veterans Home.

"We want a plan. We want it soon, and we want it to take care of these guys first and foremost and then a plan to take care of everybody else. I told you they're going to put me in one someday. I want to make sure there's a facility and bed space that is quality and available in the future," said Hampton.

"The VA Commission in charge of it, they need to be replaced. There needs to be an audit done to find out where the money is," CVMA member John Sparks told the crowd.

Many veterans, including Hampton, expressed concern that funding hasn't been enough and that oversight from the top has been non-existent. Governor Mike Beebe has recently appointed a new Veterans Affairs Director that he believes can turn the troubled agency around by making the tough decisions. As far as the money, Beebe spokesperson Matt DeCample says very few agencies received the funds they desired over the past three years of fiscal belt-tightening.

"There is of course never enough money to go around for all the places we'd like to put it," said DeCample.

DeCample went on to say the governor's office would continue its oversight of the VA, but he was confident that Director Cissy Rucker will due what is best for our veterans.

"You keep watching, but you do have to have confidence in the people that you put there," said DeCample.