One-on-one with Senator Johnny Isakson

Source: WGCL

Senator Johnny Isakson's office is filled with pictures and symbols honoring our nation's military.

"The Georgia Guard was a great organization. I learned a lot," Isakson told CBS46 reporter Natalie Rubino.

Isakson served in the Georgia Air National Guard for six years in his twenties. As his political career grew, so did Isakson's ability to help veterans.

"This is my 14th year on the Veteran's Committee."

In 2015, the Senator was made Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veteran Affair. It happened at a critical time when the VA faced nationwide scrutiny

"What do you think is the biggest issue our veterans face today," Rubino asked Isakson. "Well probably the biggest issue is the reliability of the VA itself," he said.

Right now the average wait time for approval of VA benefits is 5 years. Isakson tells me the newly passed Veteran Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act will fix that.

"The repeals act has reduced the time veterans are going to have to wait to get an answer from a year and a half to six month and more faster than that in times to come."

Also passed this summer, the VA Mission Act. It's supposed to give vets better access to outside doctors. But congress doesn't know how the 52 billion dollar bill will be funded yet.

Rubino asked Isakson if it will come from taxpayer dollars.

"Well veterans are tax payers and we owe it to the veterans to not put our country in debt and we owe them good health care. We'll find a way to pay for it," Isakson answered.

Last month, Robert Wilkie was sworn in as the new VA Secretary. Isakson says he's confident Wilkie will reform the VA and implement the 18 veteran bills passed this session.

The Senator also commented on John Watts, the man who set himself on fire at the Georgia Capitol.

Isakson said he was saddened by the news. But says an investigation showed that the VA did everything they were supposed to in Watts case. He added however, more work needs to be done and we need to continue to give veterans a voice.

Copyright 2018 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Recommended for you