Isakson Applauds Committee Approval of Two VA Nominees

Nominees for VA’s offices of information and technology, accountability and whistleblower protection advance to full Senate for votes on confirmation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, today applauded the bipartisan committee approval of James Gfrerer to be chief information officer (CIO) and assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Information and Technology (IT) and Tamara Bonzanto to be assistant secretary of the VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection.

Following today’s committee approval, the nominations now move to the full Senate for a vote on confirmation.

“I’m proud to send two accomplished nominees to serve in very important roles at the VA to the full Senate for confirmation,” said Isakson. “Mr. Gfrerer and Ms. Bonzanto each bring unique experience to the positions for which they have been nominated, and I am confident that they will do well in their future roles. I urge the full Senate to quickly approve these nominees so they can get to work serving our nation’s veterans.”

The VA’s chief information officer oversees a number of critical projects at the VA, including the massive electronic health records merger, a new system to support the expanded VA caregivers benefits, processing of G.I. Bill payments and many other IT priorities.

Mr. Gfrerer served as an Executive Director with Ernst & Young where he worked in the firm’s cybersecurity practice. Prior to joining the company, he served in the United States Marine Corps for more than two decades and was a Department of Defense detailee to the Department of State, leading interagency portfolios in counterterrorism and cybersecurity.

The Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection was established in 2017 in legislation that Isakson authored, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which required the office be headed up by a Senate-confirmed assistant secretary to ensure full accountability by Congress and the American people.

Ms. Bonzanto is a healthcare investigator for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. She is the only licensed registered nurse working for the committee and one of the few on Capitol Hill. Her career in health care began when she enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 2001. 

Isakson chaired a committee hearing to consider the nominees on Sept. 5.

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The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 115th Congress. Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the armed services as well as more than 750,000 veterans.