President Signs Into Law Bipartisan Legislation To Name Galesburg VA Clinic After Lane Evans

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

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL) announced that the President signed into law bipartisan legislation that will name the veterans facility in Galesburg, Illinois the “Lane A. Evans VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic.” The bipartisan legislation was introduced in the House by Bustos and in the Senate by Durbin and Kirk and was supported by the entire Illinois Congressional Delegation.

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 month at the age of 63.

“Lane Evans, a proud Marine, was a special friends to veterans – not just in his district or in Illinois, but across the United States,” said Durbin. “By the end of his Congressional career, he had made a name for himself as their strongest champion. Naming the VA Clinic in Galesburg after Lane Evans name is the right thing to do. It will remind every veteran passing through the doorway that Lane Evans had them in his heart, and in his mind, every minute that he was in public service. Now that the President has signed this bill into law, I look forward to joining them, and walking through the doorway of the Lane A. Evans VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic myself.”

“For 24 years, Lane Evans was a champion for our servicemen and women on the front lines and here at home,” Kirk said. “This Galesburg facility will serve as a reminder to Illinois veterans that Lane Evans worked tirelessly on their behalf to care for them and their families.”

“With this action by the President, Lane Evans’s legacy of service is literally set in stone and his memory lives on in service to the veterans of Western and Central Illinois,” said Bustos. “I applaud the President for signing our bipartisan legislation into law and once again thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their support in this important effort to honor Lane’s advocacy on behalf of those who have worn the uniform of our country.”

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.

The text of the legislation can be found here. The legislation passed the Senate on a unanimous basis on December 4, 2014 and the House on a unanimous basis on December 8, 2014.