On May 21st, 2020 Congressman Cook of the 8th District of California sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom urging his office to abandon the idea of closing the Barstow Veterans home in favor of exploring more impactful cuts in other areas of the state. We are pleased Mr. Cook agrees with our sentiments. Though a seemingly tiny drop in the proverbial bucket that is our California economy, the weight of that water in our own High Desert Community is substantial.
Here is the body of Congressman Cook’s letter to Sacramento:
May 21, 2020
Governor Gavin Newsom
1303 10th Street, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Governor Newsom,
I write to you today regarding the Barstow Veterans Home, which is operated by the California Department of Veterans Affairs in my district. Over 200 veterans reside at the facility, many of whom are disabled or otherwise bear the physical and mental scars of their service. Closure of
the facility, as you propose in your latest budget revision, would be a tremendous disservice to these veterans, their families, and communities regionally.
The Barstow Veterans Home was built to serve veterans in a location central to many military installations: Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. These bases, along with former military installations like George Air Force Base in Victorville and Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino, have led to a high concentration of retired military veterans in our region. In fact, San Bernardino County has the 5th largest population of veterans in the state, and Barstow is the only veterans home in the county.
Many of the veterans residing at this facility receive access to care that would otherwise be difficult to receive. Their families reside nearby, and they have strong support with the local community and assistance groups. While CalVet has stated they will find room for these veterans in other homes, transferring them will force them away from a place that some have called home for decades.
Veterans are one of our nation’s greatest treasures, and we recognize their sacrifice by way of our commitment to their health and quality of life. The Barstow facility is essential to that commitment and overall a tiny portion of the state budget. I urge you to seek more useful and impactful remedies to address the sizable state budget deficit brought on by COVID-19. If you have any questions about this letter, please contact my office at (202) 225-5 861.