Senate Democratic Policy Committee Hearings on Soldiers’ Exposures to Sodium Dichromate at Qarmat Ali

It was a chilling scene in Washington, D.C. earlier this week. The Senate Democratic Policy Committee held a two hour hearing on soldiers’ exposures to sodium dichromate at Qarmat Ali in 2003. Here is a link to the webcast of the hearing .

Oregon National Guard member Rocky Bixby represented the Oregon troops. I attended with Rocky.

Many people are owed thanks and recognition for their efforts., including all the senators who attended. Senator Dorgan, who chairs the committee, has been a force for change on this matter.  Senators Bayh, Rockefeller, Reid, Whitehouse, Udall, and Wyden also attended, each adding something important to the mix.

I wanted to particularly acknowledge Senator Wyden for taking time out of the pressing demands posed by health care reform. As well, Sen. Reid’s presence was particularly remarkable, as his leadership duties are demanding.

After the hearing, Senator Jeff Merkley made time to meet with Rocky Bixby. The meeting with Senator Merkley and his staff went well. It’s clear that they are concerned and motivated to help our injured soldiers. Rocky and I were so appreciative that Senator Merkley could make time to meet with Rocky and listen to his story.

Finally, I want to recognize the amazing staff of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. They did great work pulling together comprehensive proof presented at the hearing.

To our Oregon troops and clients, I can only say that the Oregon Senate delegation has made it clear by their words and deeds that they are behind you. And of course, that’s in addition to the Oregon Legislature, and Rep. Schrader and other members of Congress working on federal legislation.

To our state legislators and the Oregon Congressional delegation, I can say that our troops appreciate your words of encouragement and your efforts and kindness. They have a long haul ahead. We appreciate your help to date and hope that you can continue to find time and resources to assist the troops as this thing unfolds.

Listen to the hearing. It’s very disturbing. The men and women who served need our help. That’s why we’re in this thing against KBR.

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