Reader's View: Thank you Veterans!

Senator Daphne Jordan

November 15, 2019

Originally published in Troy Record on November 10, 2019.

Monday, Nov. 11 is Veteran’s Day, a special time to recognize, respect and honor the incredible contributions of our nation’s veterans.

America is the home of the free because of our brave – the courageous men and women of our military who serve with professionalism, pride, courage, character, and excellence. On Veteran’s Day – and every day – we owe all of our heroic veterans a heartfelt THANK YOU for their service and sacrifice that’s protected our nation and preserved our liberty.

As your Senator, whether it was advocating for program funding, or supporting important legislation, I’ve made it a priority to recognize, honor, and support our veterans and active-duty military personnel who defend our freedom.

Advocating for Dwyer Program Restoration

During the 2019-20 State Budget process, I advocated for the successful restoration of $3.7 million in state funding for the PFC Joseph Dwyer Peer-to-Peer Veteran’s Counseling Program. This is a peer-to-peer support program for veterans facing the challenges of post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injuries, and reintegration into civilian life.

This innovative program serves all four counties that are part of the 43rd Senate District, including Columbia County, which received $100,000, Rensselaer County, which received $145,000, Saratoga County, which received $185,000, and Washington County, which also received $185,000 (along with Warren County as part of a joint program, my colleague Senator Betty Little advocated for Washington-Warren’s Dwyer Program funding).

I’m proud to have helped deliver this vital Dwyer Program funding for our local communities that have this active program to assist more veterans.

Sponsoring, Cosponsoring, and Supporting Legislation Helping Veterans

Throughout the Legislative Session, I introduced, cosponsored and voted for important, pro-veteran legislation that passed the Senate. I will continue advocating for these measures to become state law:

• Active Duty Property Tax Exemptions: Provide qualified active-duty personnel a property tax exemption (Passed Senate);

• Veteran Academic Credit: Allow full-time undergraduate students enrolled at state-operated institutions to receive academic credit for their military service or training (Passed Senate);

• Real Property Tax Exemptions: Provide real property tax exemptions for one hundred percent disabled veterans (or the unmarried surviving spouse of such veteran) who served in a combat theater or combat zone of operations (I cosponsor this measure);

• Expansion of Contracting Set Asides for Veteran-Owned Businesses: Expand state contracting set asides for all veteran-owned businesses (I sponsor this bill);

• Make Permanent State Contracting Benefits for Veteran-Owned Businesses: Make Chapter 22 of the Laws of 2014, which provides a service-disabled veteran-owned business enterprise with increased participation in state contracting, permanent (I sponsor this bill);

• 55-c Eligible Jobs Notifications: Requires State Agencies to prominently identify on any job posting that meets the requirements of section 55-c of the Civil Service Law that such job is 55-c Eligible. The 55-c Program allows State Agencies to set aside certain state positions, which are to be filled by disabled veterans but is not being fully utilized (I cosponsor this bill that passed the Senate and Assembly);

• Protecting Veterans’ Pensions: Prohibits any entity from receiving compensation for helping veterans and their dependents prepare a claim, except as permitted under the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ standards. It would also prohibit charging unreasonable fees for services and ban pledging that an individual will receive a specific amount of veterans’ benefits money (Signed into State Law).

Promoting Purple Heart Communities

Our nation’s oldest military honor, the Purple Heart is a combat decoration awarded to members of U.S. armed forces wounded in action and posthumously awarded to the next of kin in the name of those killed in action or die of wounds received in action. I’m partnering with David Wallingford, Commander of Chapter 446 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, to establish Purple Heart Communities to honor the courage and commitment of Purple Heart recipients.

I also sponsor legislation – Senate Bill S.6745 – designating New York as a “Purple Heart State” to recognize the heroic sacrifices our nation’s soldiers have made to protect America. To learn more about becoming a Purple Heart Community, contact my office at (518) 371-2751.

God bless our veterans! We will never forget everything you have done in service to our country and the cause of freedom, and we thank you!

Contact and connect with me

If I can ever help, call me at (518) 455-2381, e-mail me at jordan@nysenate.gov, visit my Senate webpage at www.jordan.nysenate.gov, or stop by my district office located at 1580 Columbia Turnpike Building 2, Suite 1, Castleton-On-The-Hudson, NY 12033. You can also connect with me on Facebook (Senator Daphne Jordan), Instagram (Senator_Jordan) and Twitter (NY Senator Jordan).

NYS Senator Daphne Jordan serves as the Ranking Minority Member on the Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee and represents the 43rd Senate District that includes parts of Rensselaer, Saratoga and Washington counties and all of Columbia County.