I served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1969, and I consider myself to be one of the lucky veterans. That’s why it pains me to see our Veterans Affairs system so rife with corruption and mismanagement, to the point where veterans are suffering and some have even died as a result of wait lists.

I have to ask, where was the oversight? Unfortunately, the answer leads me directly to Maine’s own 2nd District congressman, Mike Michaud.

He has served on the Veterans Affairs Committee for more than a decade and now sits as the ranking Democrat on the panel, which is responsible for overseeing the nation’s VA hospitals.

The current mess happened on Michaud’s watch even though he was personally briefed 18 times by the Office of the Inspector General about problems at the VA.

Yet when he was asked recently whether he thought he bore any responsibility for the VA’s state of affairs, Michaud dodged the question and refused to accept responsibility. As a veteran also of the Maine Senate, I can say I’ve never seen such a performance of political spin and deflection.

We need real leadership in Augusta, not more excuses and politics as usual. I don’t always like Gov. LePage’s style, but I respect his ability to make tough decisions and refusal to pass the buck. That’s what we need here in Maine and at the VA.

Richard Nass

former Republican state senator and representative