Briana Sewell

Del. Briana Sewell 

During her campaign to represent Prince William County in the Virginia House of Delegates, Briana Sewell said she did a lot of listening. And one thing that became clear to her is the greater need for veteran services in the region.

“When you look at the commonwealth as a whole, about 8% of the population identify as veterans, but when you look at our region here in Northern Virginia that number increases,” said Sewell, D-51st. She noted that more than 700,000 veterans live in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William.

As a result, Sewell has introduced House Bill 432, asking Virginia’s Department of Veteran Services to create a veterans care center in the eastern portion of Northern Virginia.

“With [Marine Corps Base] Quantico and Fort Belvoir, I wanted to take care of my neighbors,” she said. “Individuals just want to age in place gracefully in an area they’ve called home for a significant period of time.”

If Sewell’s bill survives the legislative gauntlet during this winter’s General Assembly session, the center would join similar facilities in Richmond and Roanoke. Another state veterans care center is under construction in Virginia Beach, with a fourth in Fauquier County to begin construction later this year.

“When you look at the census data for our veterans, one in four resides in Northern Virginia, and it’s a natural fit to set up a strong support system,” she said.

Sewell’s bill has been referred to the House Rules Committee, where she will have an opportunity to share the stories of many veterans across the commonwealth.

“I’m a daughter of two Air Force veterans, and I know when they sign up, the whole family serves,” Sewell said. “I hope to prioritize the residents of Prince William after I heard about the need for more veterans support in our area.”

Sewell, a Prince William native, said the center is needed to address not only existing needs but also the expected growth of the local veteran community.

“We’re not just thinking about those who are currently veterans, but also for active-duty members and be proactive for those who wish to call the commonwealth home to later have access to these facilities.”

Paul Lara covers the military beat. Reach him at plara@insidenova.com

(3) comments

Allen Muchnick

If you actually read Delegate Sewell's bill, you would see that it seeks to "provide affordable, long-term nursing care to veterans". It's not for a mere clinic.

The second paragraph of this article incorrectly states: "She noted that more than 700,000 veterans live in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William." The 700,000+ is the total number of veterans living in all of Virginia; i.e., 8% of 8.67 million residents.

Later on, the article reports that Delegate Sewell noted that 1/4 of Virginia veterans live in Northern Virginia, so the correct number of veterans living in NoVA is around 175,000. That seems like an ample number for an affordable nursing home for veterans.

Joseph Jenkins

They already started building the new clinic off I95 in Spotsy/Stafford area. Seems like a bad idea to race to build another likely off I95. Veterans can use Belivor or Walter Reed closer in, I believe.

Paul Benedict

For 2 minutes each day (1,140 minutes), even a broken clock gets it right. If approved, hopefully funds would be used for the stated purpose and not to fund special interests' pockets like so many political schemes are.

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