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Nelson Blames Rounds for Possible Hot Springs VA Closure

SIOUX FALLS (NPN) — In a wide-ranging news conference Friday, state Rep. Stace Nelson continued his attacks on Republic primary front-runner Mike Rounds and added a new charge — that the former governor precipitated the Department of Veterans Affairs desire to close the VA hospital in Hot Springs.

Todd Epp/NPN

“He polled on it, he offered to move it to Rapid City,” Nelson said.

Nelson said he believes this gave the VA the impetus to close the Hot Springs facility.

Nelson, a Marine veteran, said he’s a disable veteran and has experience dealing with the VA. He said he has always been treated well by staff but has found the VA’s bureaucracy “a phalanx to keep veterans from getting help.”

Nelson’s news conference came about the same time that national media outlets were announcing Sec. Eric Shinseki’s resignation as head of the VA.

“Shenseki is responsible, so is Obama,” Nelson said. “We need to push to hold those responsible” for the long waits and other issues.

Nelson also continued on his themes of Gov. Rounds being the candidate of “East Coast interests” and having “overwhelmed” the media with his TV commercial buys.

“He overwhelms them with light fluff about losing sleep over Obamacare,” Nelson said.

He also attacked Rounds on the EB-5 scandal and investigation and that Rounds’ insurance company had profited from Obamacare by signing up as one of the first “navigators” in the state.

However, a spokesman for the Rounds campaign said that neither Rounds nor his insurance business was ever a navigator and to be one would be a violation of federal regulations.

The Republican U.S. Senate primary is Tuesday.

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