A Republican candidate for one of Mississippi's U.S. Senate seats called for all Veterans Affairs hospitals to be closed down, citing a poor quality of service and the chance to benefit private hospitals, WLOX-TV reported.
"The VA is not motivated for customer service like a private hospital," Republican Senate candidate Richard Boyanton said. "Eliminating the VA would make private hospitals more viable."
What's the story?
Boyanton is also a veteran, having served in the Vietnam War, where he earned a Purple Heart.
He believes veterans can get better care at private hospitals than they can at VA hospitals, which he said don't have a customer service focus and often have long waiting lists for treatments.
The candidate also believes the government could save significant amounts of money by closing VA hospitals. If elected, Boyanton said the issue would be a priority for him.
Who is Richard Boyanton?
Boyanton is a 68-year-old businessman who owns Scott Fence Company and Boyanton Industries.
He joined the Army at age 17, and served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division and in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne.
According to his website, he decided to run for Senate because American values are under attack, and he got tired of "watching congressmen sit on their hands and do nothing about this, or even worse fan the flames for their own personal benefit."
"I decided to run for Senate in order to bring power back into the hands of ordinary citizens that love their country and are concerned about its future," he wrote.
His platform includes:
- Supporting freedom of religion
- Preventing infringement upon the U.S. Constitution
- Deportation of illegal immigrants and accountability for those who employ or support them
- Free market economy
- Civil rights
- 12-year term limits in Congress
When is the Republican primary?
Boyanton is running against Republican incumbent Sen. Roger Wicker. The primary election is June 5.
There will also be a nonpartisan special election in November to fill the seat vacated by former Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, who resigned in April due to health issues.
Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith is currently filling that seat, and is running in the special election against Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel, Democrat Mike Espy (former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture), and Democrat Toby Bartee.