In a roundtable discussion this morning at the Minneapolis Veterans Medical Center, veterans from southern Minensota told Democratic Congressman Tim Walz and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that a lack of information and health care in rural Minnesota are preventing veterans from accessing their benefits.

"When you come home you're kind of alone," said Mike McLaughlin, 23, a Marine who served twice in Iraq. McLaughlin said young veterans are especially vulnerable because they don't know how to access money for health care or college.

Other veterans said long drives to the VA hospital in Minneapolis sometimes aggravated their health problems even more. Pelosi told the veterans that Congress is working on the issues but made no specific promises.

"We have to do better," she said. "We're trying to address those issues."

Pelosi and Walz met with veterans at the hospital and will hold a news conference at 11 a.m.

Pelosi is in Minnesota to support Walz's reelection to the southern Minnesota district.

"I'm honored that Speaker Pelosi accepted my invitation to sit down with veterans from my district to hear first-hand about their concerns and ideas," said Walz, a 24-year veteran of the Army National Guard. "I want to make sure that representatives from our veterans' community have the opportunity to meet directly with the Speaker of the House when she is in our state."