After months of delays, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed state Veterans Affairs Commissioner Linda Schwartz as the new Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Policy and Planning in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Schwartz, 69, a former nurse and Air Force veteran, was chosen for the national post last year by President Barack Obama. In her decade as head of the Connecticut agency, she has become known for her strong advocacy of veterans, especially around issues of homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder and women and disabled veterans.
Her confirmation was applauded Tuesday by U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, who noted in a joint statement that the VA is “in critical need of new approaches, greater accountability and new people to tackle tough challenges.”
This summer, former Proctor & Gamble chief executive Robert A. McDonald took over as Secretary of the embattled department, after a scandal over the manipulation of patient wait-time data led to the ouster of former Secretary Eric Shinseki.
In Connecticut, Deputy Commissioner Joseph Perkins will serve in the role of acting commissioner, while a search is conducted for a permanent commissioner, Governor Dannel P. Malloy said. Malloy said Schwartz’ elevation to a national post would be “of great benefit to veterans across the country, as well as those right here in Connecticut.”