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Southern Colorado lawmakers push for local V.A. hospital

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PUEBLO -

Two Pueblo lawmakers want to see a V.A. hospital in southern Colorado. 

'I think there's been a case for a long time,'  said Senator Leroy Garcia (Pueblo-D), a marine veteran, who is sponsoring a memorial in the legislature for the hospital.

In a joint memorial, which is a form of resolution, Sen. Garcia and Representative Daneya Esgar (Pueblo-D) are calling on congress to put a hospital in southern Colorado. 

Sen. Garcia and Rep. Esgar, along with Adams county based representative Phil Covarrubias are the prime sponsors of the memorial. 

'One of the things we really need to be talking about is that effort when we say we support veterans, what does that look like? I know for so many veterans I talk to here in southern Colorado, it's not that the V.A.'s not providing good care, it's the distance of traveling to Denver, it's the congestion along I-25, it's the specialty care.'

Garcia says a growing population of more than 86,000 veterans in southern Colorado is part of the reason why a V.A. hospital is needed in the area. 

'Obviously I'm making the pitch that Pueblo is best positioned for that, but I think Colorado Springs is also,' said Garcia. 

In order for this to happen, it would take an effort from lawmakers on capitol hill. 

'I think there are lessons to be learned on Congress' behalf and I would call on our federal delegation to hold our V.A. a little more accountable,' said Garcia. 

Still, the memorial is getting a lot of support from members of the Colorado General Assembly. 

The memorial already has 22 senators and 24 representatives listed as sponsors, with many from Southern Colorado putting their name to the memorial. 

The support, which Garcia says didn't surprise him, 'our colleagues talk a lot about supporting veterans,' said Garcia. 

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