COLUMBIA, S.C. - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sen. Vincent Sheheen is proposing South Carolina agencies help veterans who aren't getting health care and financial assistance from the federal government.

Sheheen said Tuesday state agencies could step forward to help veterans whose care is delayed at Veterans Administration hospitals.

Reports of lengthy patient wait-lists and cover-ups at VA hospitals led to the resignation last week of former Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

The Camden Democrat says state public health clinics could open extra hours to ease the VA backlog, and the State Department of Mental Health could reach out to suffering veterans, among other things.

Sheheen says he is working with Rep. James Smith, D-Columbia, to get $1 million from House budget conferees for the effort, to be repaid later.