Interview with Roscoe Butler, Senior Health Policy AdvisorPosted By PVA Admin on January 24, 2023
What do you do as PVA’s Senior Health Policy Advisor?
I’m responsible for reviewing all matters pertaining to Veterans’ healthcare, especially Veterans suffering from spinal cord injuries and disorders, ALS and MS. I’m also responsible for keeping the organization abreast of any changes that the VA may be considering and providing input into whether they benefit Veterans (particularly our members) or not and providing feedback on how we should advocate for or against those changes.
How did you end up in this role? What inspired you to pursue legislative work in your career?
I’m an Army Veteran. I served three years in the Army. After my discharge from the Army, I started a career working at the Department of Veterans Affairs. I worked at the VA for 34 years working in health policy and retired in 2011. I was looking at what would be my next step in life and that led me to Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs). I worked with the American Legion for six years, and I’ve been with Paralyzed Veterans of America for four years. I think we owe it to our nation’s Veterans to ensure that they continue to receive the benefits they’ve earned, and the way to do that is through Veteran’s advocacy at an organization like Paralyzed Veterans of America. That way, someone who understands the needs of Veterans can convey that information to Congress and others to make sure that our Veterans can get the benefits they deserve.
As some listeners may know, Advocacy week is coming up this March. Can you explain what Advocacy Week is? What does PVA do, and why is it important?
Advocacy Week is an opportunity for organizations like PVA to come together with a single position of advocating for PVA’s priorities. We bring all of our chapters into town, host a seminar, and talk about our legislative priorities. Then, following the seminar, which is about two days, we go on Capitol Hill, and have them meet with their Congressional representatives to convey what’s important to PVA, what our legislative priorities are, what we’re advocating for, and what we want them to do to advance our legislative priorities.
How can readers get involved with Advocacy Week and other advocacy efforts at PVA?
They can reach out to their local chapter, and their local chapter can educate them on what they need to do. Everyone has a family member that was a Veteran who served, so we call on them to reach out to their Congressional representatives through various options and ensure that they can convey what is important to us so that members of Congress gets the message and pursues legislative options that meet the needs of Veterans.
Obviously, your legislative role keeps you busy. But outside of that, what are some things you like to do for fun? Or what is something you wish more coworkers knew about you?
I like to do research and studying about things that can help me professionally. I spend a lot of time watching PBS. I’m also an advocate for Army stories, so I spend a lot of time watching those types of things. I’m married, and have two sons and a daughter. I like spending time with my family, because family is important. They keep me going.