VA Hires One of Sharpest Critics to Blog About Agency

Tuesday, 10 May 2011 12:52 PM

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The Veterans Administration has turned to one of its sharpest critics to help the agency better serve the men and women who served in uniform. Alex Horton had blogged about his dealings with the VA after serving a 15-month deployment in Iraq, The Washington Post reported.

veterans affairs, Iraq, deployment, benefits, AP photoOne 1,000 word post asked, “How many obscene scandals, misappropriations and misdiagnoses does it take to see there’s a rotten core at the center?” Horton, then in his fourth semester at community college in Austin, was complaining that the VA was sitting on the money he needed for rent and books, the Post reported.

The VA took notice and hired Horton to blog about the agency. His hire is a part of a plan to remake the VA into a modern operation in tune with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, that can respond quickly to complaints and questions and be open to the kind of scrutiny only someone like Horton can provide.

Horton wasn’t sure about the job when contacted by the VA’s new media director but, “Then I thought, this might be an opportunity,” he told the Post. The head of the new media team, Brandon Friedman said that he “told everyone upfront, Alex is not here to flack for the agency but to help facilitate our communication with our clients.”

Horton packed up and moved to Washington to take the full-time job and has applied to local colleges so he can finish his degree. Nor does it appear he has sold out. His blog posts on claims backlogs and parking shortages for vets visiting VA centers has drawn criticism from higher ups, the Post reported.

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