Durbin, Kirk, Bustos Lead Bipartisan Effort To Name Galesburg VA Clinic After Lane Evans

New Legislation Would Honor the Former Lawmaker from Illinois' 17th Congressional District Who Championed Veterans Issues

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL) introduced legislation today to honor the legacy and public service achievements of former U.S. Representative from Illinois Lane Evans by naming a veterans facility in Galesburg, Illinois the “Lane A. Evans VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic.” Evans – who represented Illinois’ 17th Congressional District for more than 20 years – was known throughout his career in Congress as a champion of veterans’ issues and served as the Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee for a decade. After a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, Evans passed away last week at the age of 63.

“The best way we can honor the memory of Lane Evans is to continue his work on behalf of America’s veterans,” Durbin said. “This work continues every day in VA facilities across the country where veterans are able to seek increased education benefits, improved health care access and services, and many other expanded benefits because Lane Evans insisted that America treat its veterans with respect. Given his lifetime of service, it is a fitting tribute to remember our great champion of veterans by naming the VA medical center in Galesburg, Illinois in Lane Evans’ honor.”

“For more than two decades Lane Evans fought tirelessly on behalf of Illinois veterans, working to rid the stigma that surrounds combat-based injury and illness,” Kirk said. “The dedication of the Galesburg veterans facility will be a fitting tribute to a man who committed his life to improving the lives of our nation's heroes.”

“Lane Evans will be sorely missed by all who he touched, but his legacy of service will never be forgotten,” said Bustos. “The dedication of a VA facility in the heart of the region he represented is a fitting tribute and acknowledgement of his career-long fight to ensure all veterans gets the care and benefits they have earned and deserve. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle – including the full Illinois Congressional Delegation – to honor Lane Evans, a Marine Corps veteran himself, by naming the Galesburg VA Clinic after him.”

A Rock Island native, Evans joined the U.S. Marines Corps at age 17, just two weeks after he graduated from high school. When he returned home following his service, Evans used the GI Bill to earn a college degree, graduating magna cum laude from Augustana College in Rock Island before receiving a law degree from Georgetown.

First elected to represent Illinois’ 17th Congressional District in 1982, Lane Evans went on to serve 12 terms before retiring in 2007. Evans was the first chairman of the Vietnam-era Veterans’ Congressional Caucus and the first Vietnam-era veteran to serve as ranking member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, a post he held for 10 years.

In his first term, Evans led the effort to create a pilot program establishing community-based veterans centers to help veterans with job and marriage counseling and post-traumatic stress syndrome. The program has since grown to include hundreds of veterans’ centers around the country. His record on behalf of veterans earned him the praise and respect from veterans’ service organizations and his colleagues on both sides of the political aisle.

Today’s legislation – which was introduced in the Senate by Durbin and Kirk and in the House of Representatives by Bustos – is supported by the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation.

The text of the legislation can be found here.