DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Marco Rubio is using a real-life example to talk about his commitment to the Department of Veterans Affairs — his big brother.
The Republican presidential candidate and Florida senator will appear in Iowa Thursday with his brother Mario, an army veteran. It'll be his first time on the 2016 campaign trail for Mario Rubio.
Rubio will offer his plans to reform a system plagued by long delays for those seeking care and allegations of falsified records, according to his prepared remarks. As a prime example, Rubio will point to his brother, who served in the Army from 1968 through 1971, and has been waiting on dental work for a service-related injury.
"He's had to file a claim and wait for a hearing, which could take anywhere from 18 months to three years. Meanwhile, he's stuck waiting for the procedures he needs," Rubio says in his prepared remarks. "Mario is going through the exact same bureaucratic nightmare every other veteran in his situation has to go through. And like so many of them, he will tell you how confusing it has been, how even the forms he has to fill out seem almost intentionally complicated."
Rubio said his brother was injured during training and taken to a dentist but the visit was never officially recorded. So far, the VA has not provided work he needs today.
Rubio is seeking more transparency and accountability at Veterans Affairs, promising to get rid of underperforming workers and provide more public oversight. He would also make it easier for veterans to seek private care.
Mario Rubio, 65, lives in Jacksonville, Florida where he works for the city.