Robert McDonald

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald and Sen. Jon Tester will visit Montana next week and meet with student veterans at the University of Montana. (AP Photo)

U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald and Sen. Jon Tester will drop by the University of Montana this week to discuss issues important to student veterans.

Tester recently announced that McDonald would visit VA facilities in Missoula, Billings and Helena. UM confirmed Friday that McDonald’s stop would also include a campus visit.

The university said McDonald and Tester will discuss career opportunities with student veterans. McDonald will further discuss ways to employ student veterans in the VA.

McDonald’s trip to Montana marks the second time Tester has brought an acting VA secretary to the state. In 2011, then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and Tester toured the state, speaking with Montana veterans.

Next week’s trip will be similar as McDonald and Tester tour state facilities and meet with veterans, VA employees and community leaders to understand the challenges of rural medicine and Montana health care issues.

“VA Montana provides excellent care to veterans once they get through the door, but access continues to be the biggest obstacle many veterans face,” said Tester. “This tour will better inform VA officials in Washington, care providers in Montana, and myself as we work to make VA Montana all that it should be for the men and women who served our nation.”

The Montana Democrat serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. He has worked with McDonald to implement the bipartisan VA reform bill signed into law last year.

McDonald, who took office last July, will visit Helena and Missoula on Tuesday, and Billings on Wednesday.

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