WHEELING - U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito says if America wants Congress to move past its stalemate and take action on the important issues of the day - such as the care of the nation's veterans, it is going to have to look to the women serving in the U.S. Senate.
Capito, R-Charleston, addressed West Virginia's top high schools Sunday as the 72nd Rhododendron Girls State kicked off at Wheeling Jesuit University.
She fears today's youth is seeing the "strife and partisanship" present in Washington, and this is discouraging to the younger generation. She also believes women in Congress will be the ones to step forward and move toward action.
"Right now our country - with all this strife, and all this partisanship - if you read any analysis of how anything is getting done in the U.S. Senate, it's mostly attributed to the 20 women who are serving in the Senate," Capito said.
"As women, we don't have time to argue all that much. We've got to do the laundry, get the homework done, make sure our parents are alright, get the baby fed - we've got so many other things on our plate that we have to do. We know moving forward, making decisions, communicating and building relationships is how we do it best."
And the issue of better caring for America's veterans is one Congress should first address, according to Capito.
"I'm the daughter of a World War II veteran (former West Virginia Gov. Arch Moore)," she said. "My dad went across the Atlantic when he was 20 years old, and he never thought or knew if he was ever coming back. He ended up being severely wounded over there.
"He came home after he was treated very well by the Army hospitals, and also through the VA (U.S. Veterans Administration). He went on to enjoy a wonderful and fulfilling life. That's all we want for our veterans."
Capito said she isn't certain that Congress today is making the care of veterans the priority it should, "and it's a real black spot on our nation."
"When I think of all the sacrifices our veterans make - the sacrifices their families make to support the veterans - I want to make sure their sacrifice is cared for when they come back ..... We need to show those who sign up to go to faraway places and fear they might not come home, that if they come home with injuries we're going to take care of them."
Last year, two young women elected at Rhododendron Girls State to represent West Virginia at National Girls State crafted legislation while there aimed at assuring there is proper health care for veterans.
The legislation seeks to make certain there are enough trained professionals available to treat both the physical and needs of veterans after they return home.
Veterans hospitals say there is a shortage of nurses and other health care providers at their facilities, according to Capito.
"I'm going to take (the legislation) to Washington, because I think it's a very good idea," she said.
Capito is seeking election to the U.S. Senate this year, as is Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a Democrat. Tennant is to address Girls State today.