Saving the Fitzsimmons VA Hospital

January 14 2005, 11:00 AM
When the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center announced it was moving to the campus of Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Aurora, it was thought that a new Veterans Administration hospital would be a perfect companion to the complex. But in recent days, that idea has been considered dead after a letter to Congress from outgoing VA Secretary Anthony Principi emerged, in which Principi stated that the site was too small. Now freshman Senator Ken Salazar says he is going to try to save the Fitzsimons site, starting by putting pressure on VA Secretary nominee Jim Nicholson (himself a Coloradan) to reverse Principi's recommendation. If Salazar can save the Fitzsimons VA site, that would be a major feather in his cap -- and we must note that it would especially boost his stock in Aurora, which has emerged as one of Colorado's political battlegrounds. I expect Governor Owens and Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-Arvada), whose district includes Fitzsimons, to back Salazar's effort -- and probably to question why Republican Sen. Wayne Allard didn't think of doing this first.