ALBANY, NY (1/11/2011) – Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) was appointed today by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to Chair the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs.
“As a former Air Force Captain and Air Force Academy graduate, it is an overwhelming honor to be the new Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs,” Senator Ball said. “My work starts immediately to do everything I can for our veterans and to protect our citizens. Specifically on Veterans issues and Military Affairs it will be my distinct honor to raise the bar in delivering for those who represent the best of New York and America. My Homeland Security focus will be to make sure that our soft underbelly is secure while making sure that our first responders are well trained, equipped and prepared.” “With so many New Yorkers serving our country overseas, it is critically important that our state do everything it can to support them and their families here at home, as well as to help ensure our security and safety,” Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said. “With that in mind, there is simply no one better to serve as Chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs than Senator Greg Ball. His strong military experience in the Air Force makes him the ideal person for the job and I’m confident he will be an outstanding leader on these issues.”
Ball’s priorities as Chairman will be to pass significant legislation to enhance services for New York’s veterans, including preserving the Montrose Campus of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Veterans Hospital for the Hudson Valley’s veterans, and to secure the communities, water supply, and transportation corridors of New York.
“Now, a decade after 9/11, in my opinion we’re still not where we need to be to secure New York. We simply cannot allow the passage of time since 9/11 to lull us into complacency,” Ball said.
“I congratulate Senator Ball on his appointment as Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. I commend the senate leadership for selecting Senator Ball for this vital role, in recognition of his past military service and his unwavering commitment to public safety as an elected official. I have told the Senator that he can be assured of my support, advice and counsel as he fulfills his extremely important mission in heading the Committee. I look forward to working together with him in helping keep Putnam County, the Hudson Valley and all of New York State safe from threats to our security and our way of life,” said Putnam County Sheriff Don Smith.
“It is great news for New Yorkers that Greg Ball, a veteran and someone with both expertise and dedication, will be chairing the New York Senate's Homeland Security Committee. I have great confidence that Greg Ball will always do what is required to make New York secure for our families,” said Gary Berntsen, retired CIA Officer and American Hero.
“Senator Ball’s appointment to this important position is good news for Westchester and the Veterans community. As a veteran who served our country, Senator Ball has a deep understanding of the needs of veterans. Likewise, he has been at the forefront of homeland security issues during his term in the Assembly,” said Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
“The appointment of our newly elected New York State Senator Greg Ball to the Senate’s Veterans, Homeland Security, and Military Affairs will be beneficial in our fight to SAVE the V.A.,” said Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi. “Our Veteran’s Committee, Town Board, and I along with many others have been fighting for the past several years in opposition to the proposal by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to downsize our V.A. located in Cortlandt.”
“Senator Ball has always been a strong advocate for our area veterans and worked side by side with me when I served as a County Legislator to keep open our Veterans Hospital in Montrose,” said George Oros, Chief of Staff for County Executive Astorino and a former County Legislator representing Cortlandt.
Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli (R, C – Goldens Bridge), who yesterday was appointed the Ranking Minority Member on the Assembly’s Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, said he looks forward to working with Senator Ball on these important issues.
“New York’s veterans and current armed forces’ personnel have and continue to make sacrifices to protect our freedoms. For their service, we owe them our undying gratitude and support for the often difficult transition back to civilian life,” Castelli said.
Earlier this week, Senator Ball announced that he would be one of only two senators sitting on Governor Cuomo’s Savings and Government Efficiency Committee. Additionally, he will be a member of several Senate Committees, including Aging; Consumer Protection; Cultural Affairs and Tourism; Local Governments; Mental Health; and, Social Services.
As a Member of Assembly, Greg Ball served as the Ranking Minority Member of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. As the Ranking Member of the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Ball helped structure a historic $2 million fund to provide free undergraduate and graduate tuition to combat veterans at SUNY/CUNY schools.