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VP Mike Pence talks about VA, Space Command

Mike Pence and wife, Karen, speak at American Legion conventions in Indianapolis

David Williams | News 8 at 5 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)- Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, on Wednesday spoke to thousands of veterans in the city for The American Legion National Convention.

Thousands of Legionnaires listened as the vice president spoke about taking care of U.S. veterans. He also touted the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital reform.

“Today, I am pleased to report that under this administration, we’ve fired more than 7,000 VA employees for negligent behavior,” Pence said. “The era of abuse at the VA is over.”

He also noted a 33% drop in VA hospital wait times, the country’s Space Command and the strengthening of the military.

“This month, we signed a budget deal that secured $738 billion for our military and gave our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard the biggest pay raise they’ve had in the last 10 years.”

Pence’s message resonated with Philip Seybert, of Clayton, New York. It’s his 14th American Legion national convention.

“I’m very thankful,” Seybert said. “I remember being in those boots 21 years. I’m thankful for not only fifth but now a sixth layer (of the military) to help make our country great once more.”

Next door in the Indiana Convention Center, Karen Boehler, of Fort Collins, Colorado, joined thousands at The American Legion Auxiliary National Convention to hear Karen Pence. She spoke about using her position to support military spouses. “We see you, we thank you and we stand with you.”

Karen Pence also noted the importance of hiring military spouses. According to the Department of Defense’s 2017 Profile of the Military Community, active duty military spouses face a 24% unemployment rate. “Employers who hire these spouses benefit from their tremendous talent and their breadth of experience.”

Karen Boehler said she liked what she heard from Karen Pence. “I thought she was indeed very gracious, very sincere and genuine in her support for our military and their families.”

The annual convention will end Thursday. Next years’ national Legion convention will be in Louisville, Ky.