Longtime veterans commissioner Linda S. Schwartz, who has served under three governors over the past decade, was nominated Friday by President Obama for a high-level position in Washington, D.C.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Schwartz will be taking her next step as Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Policy and Planning at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Schwartz, 69, has served in Connecticut for more than 10 years – starting in May 2003 under then-Gov. John G. Rowland as the first woman to hold the position. She continued in her position as veterans commissioner under Governors M. Jodi Rell and Dannel P. Malloy.
Schwartz, a U.S. Air Force nurse during the Vietnam War who received a doctorate in public health in 1998 from the Yale School of Medicine, has strong support from the state’s Congressional delegation.
“Having had the opportunity to work closely with Commissioner Schwartz, both as a member of Congress, and when I served in the State House, I have the highest respect for her dedication to our veterans and for her understanding of their needs – both those who served decades ago and those returning today,” U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty said in a statement. “We have been extremely fortunate in Connecticut to have someone of her caliber, passion, and commitment helping veterans at the state level, and we are fortunate that she is willing to continue her service now as a voice for veterans across the country.”
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said, “Linda Schwartz has been a champion of veterans and a national star. Commissioner Schwartz has served the state and its veterans admirably for the past decade, and Connecticut will miss her passion, knowledge and professionalism. I cannot think of a more qualified and dedicated candidate for Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Policy and Planning, and I look forward to working with Linda as she works to improve the lives of veterans nationwide.”
Blumenthal added, “Linda has been a powerful advocate for the critical need to expedite veterans’ claims, and for making federal programs more responsive to the concerns and needs of veterans—priorities I share. As we work to address these issues, I can think of no better ally in Washington than Linda. As a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, I will work to ensure she is approved expeditiously and look forward to working closely with her in the future.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney said, “Linda Schwartz’s tireless efforts as Commissioner of Veterans Affairs in Connecticut are evidence of the dedication she has to all those who have served our country. As an Air Force veteran who suffered an injury during her service, and as a nurse and advocate, she has firsthand knowledge of the veterans’ health care system. Her initiatives have helped to reduce homelessness among veterans, and under her watch, access to a variety of support services for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan has expanded. She initiated a renovation of the state’s veterans home in Rocky Hill, modernizing living quarters, improving privacy and comfort for veterans, and constructing a state-of-the-art unit to house veterans with Alzheimer’s. While we will miss her leadership in Connecticut, this new post will give her the opportunity to improve the lives of America’s veterans.”
U.S. Rep. John B. Larson, a veteran East Hartford Democrat, said, “With troops home from Iraq and continuing to return from Afghanistan, our nation faces a number of challenges that require the type of experience and expertise very few leaders possess. Linda’s years of experience working within the Armed Services along with her successful record of advocacy on behalf of veterans’ rights make her the type of leader our nation needs to better support the veteran community. An active member of the First Congressional District Military and Veterans Advisory council, Linda understands the concerns of veterans in New England and what needs to be done to ensure they receive the benefits they deserve.”