- Associated Press - Thursday, July 31, 2014

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota’s congressional delegation is inviting the new Veterans Affairs secretary to the state.

The invitation to Robert McDonald is intended to prevent the closure of Veterans Affairs medical facilities in the western part of the state.

Sens. Tim Johnson, John Thune and Rep. Kristi Noem say they want McDonald to visit the VA hospital in Hot Springs.

The VA has served veterans in Hot Springs for more than a century but now wants to move some services to Rapid City. The Hot Springs VA hospital that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places would be shuttered, and an outpatient clinic would be opened.

The state’s congressional delegation opposes the plan.

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