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Alison Lundergan Grimes: VA chief Shinseki needs to go

Grimes beat her Democratic primary opponent Tuesday and is now in a dead heat with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
By Aileen Graef   |   May 23, 2014 at 3:27 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, May 23 (UPI) -- Kentucky Secretary of State and Democratic Senatorial candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes called for the resignation of VA chief Eric Shinseki, in wake of scandal.

Grimes broke ranks Thursday when she became the first Democratic Senatorial candidate to release a statement calling for Shinseki to step down. His department faces allegations that 26 VA facilities across the country altered their records to cover up long wait times for veterans. Grimes said it unacceptable for Shinseki to retain his position.

"We owe a solemn obligation to our veterans, and our government defaulted on that contract," she said in her statement. "I don't see how that breach of trust with our veterans can be repaired if the current leadership stays in place."

Another Democratic candidate to call for Shinseki's resignation is Michelle Nunn. She, like Grimes is facing a tough race in the deeply red state of Georgia.

"There is growing evidence that the Department of Veterans Affairs needs new leadership in order to reform its badly broken bureaucracy," Nunn said in a statement to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

Reps. David Scott and John Barrow, both Georgia Democrats, have also called for Shinseki's resignation.

Other Democrats have made statements calling for Shinseki to act on the problem, but stopped short of calling for him to leave his post.

"He should fix the problem immediately," said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who also faces a hard race. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., has said the problems are unacceptable and the administration needs to, "hold accountable those responsible."

President Obama has defended Shinseki and vowed to work with him to solve the problem.

Follow @AileenGraef and @UPI on Twitter.
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