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Phoenix whistleblower hopes new DC job helps end culture of fear in VA

President Donald Trump is greeted by Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, left, as he arrives to sign an Executive Order on "Improving Accountability and Whistleblower Protection" at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Thursday, April 27, 2017, in Washington. Also pictured is Brandon Coleman, right, a whistle blower and addiction councilor from Phoenix. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

LISTEN: Brandon Coleman, Former United States Marine and VA whistleblower

PHOENIX — A whistleblower at the Phoenix VA said Monday he hoped his new job in President Donald Trump’s administration helps to end the culture of fear from retribution within the agency.

“The No. 1 issue is just the culture of fear,” Brandon Coleman told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

“Take the Phoenix VA: I went to my supervisor first and she said, ‘That’s how people get fired’ and that needs to change.”

“We need to embrace whistleblowers and to fix this,” he said.

Coleman was hired on at the newly-created Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection last week during a trip to the nation’s capital.

“I applaud President (Donald) Trump, Secretary (David) Shulkin — all the way down, whoever was involved in this – because it’s allowing us to get started,” he said. “If you want to drain the swamp, this is how you do it.”

Coleman said he still receives multiple calls each week from other VA whistleblowers who are “crying and losing everything” because of retribution.

He said his new role showed the Trump administration was serious about fixing the internal problems in the VA.

“No stronger statement could be made than bringing an actual whistleblower to the table.”

Coleman also said the media has played a big part in exposing scandals within the veteran health care system and he planned to partner with them in the future.

“The media is a huge ally in this,” he said. “If enough media is involved, it forces the VA to make change.”

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