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April 19, 2014

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Titus sides with Sandoval on VA office move to Las Vegas

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Congresswoman Dina Titus

Rep. Dina Titus is thanking Gov. Brian Sandoval for his effort to move Nevada's regional office of Veterans Affairs to Las Vegas from Reno.

But the congresswoman, D-Nev., suggests the governor take an additional step by relocating the state Office of Veterans Services to Las Vegas.

She said she wants to see more services for the veterans in Southern Nevada.

The governor's office said the law requires the state office to be co-located with the federal regional agency, which is in Reno. Mary-Sarah Kinner, press secretary to Sandoval, said, "So the governor's letter yesterday calling to move the federal veterans' office to Las Vegas implies that he would be willing to consider relocating or removing the statute forcing location."

The law also says the office of the state's deputy director must be based in Las Vegas.

Sandoval sent a letter Thursday to Allison Hickey, the under secretary for benefits for veterans, asking for the transfer of the office to Clark County, "where it can better meet the needs of the veterans in our state."

He said a report from the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics shows there are 152,847 veterans in Clark County compared with 34,718 in Washoe County.

He said the Reno office could be located next to the new veterans hospital in North Las Vegas to create a veterans service center.

Titus is the ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, which held a hearing in Las Vegas on Nov. 7. The issue of relocating the Reno office "was discussed at length," she said.

She said, "I have asked the Veterans Administration to devote more resources to directly serving veterans in Southern Nevada and I believe it would be beneficial for the state to do the same."

A representative of Titus says no legislation has been introduced to order the change of location.

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