On Veterans Day We Honor Those Who Bravely Served Our Nation In The Armed Forces

On Veterans Day, please take time to reflect on all the sacrifices made by the men and women who have bravely answered the call of duty to serve our great nation. There are currently 22 million veterans living in America.
 
As the father, son, brother and uncle of U.S. military veterans, I will always hold a profound appreciation for those who have protected our freedoms. During the last 14 years, 2.5 million American men and women have served in our military, many of them deploying more than once. They’ve sacrificed their freedoms to do a job that allows us to stay safe at home. 
 
It is our duty to make sure our veterans have the services they need when they come home. Our Assembly Minority Conference will continue to support legislation in Albany that helps our nation’s heroes succeed once they’ve left the battlefield.
 
LEGISLATION OUR VETERANS DESERVE
 
Last month, Governor Cuomo vetoed the Veteran Pension Buyback (A.8174-A), which passed the Assembly 138-1 and Senate 63-0, which would have allowed veterans to buy back up to three years of service credit regardless of what era they served in the military. New York currently allows some veterans to buy back service credit, but not all.
 
It is hard to imagine how the Governor can support policies that would use tax payer dollars to provide free college tuition for inmates, but not support policy that would help the men and women who volunteered to protect our country.
 
HELPING VETERANS ENJOY LIFE
 
It has been a personal goal to make it easier for people in New York State to open businesses, and it should be easier for veterans, too. The Veteran Owned Business Enterprise Act (A.4418) would extend benefits to veterans that are already being extended to minority and women owned businesses in New York State. This would be a great benefit to veterans who put their lives on hold to fight the global war on terrorism, to open and run their own successful small business.  
 
Hunting and fishing are therapeutic experiences for many veterans and can help ease the symptoms of PTSD. I’ve also sponsored and co-sponsored legislation that would reduce the cost of obtaining hunting licenses or fishing in state parks for veterans including A.4382 which would provide free lifetime hunting and fishing licenses for honorably discharged, disabled veterans with a 40 percent or greater service-connected disability. Also, A.1807 would allow veterans to fish in state parks for free.
 
Our disabled veterans have made a great sacrifice fighting overseas. Allowing them to enjoy hunting, fishing and outdoor activities in New York free of charge for life is a small gesture for their service to our nation.
 
A SMALL GESTURE CAN HAVE A BIG IMPACT
 
As the number of surviving WWII and Korean War veterans gets smaller every day, it is important we listen to their stories so they can be passed on to the next generation. For many of us, it is difficult to understand what life can be like on a long deployment in a foreign land, away from our families and the comforts of home. Many veterans joined the armed forces with the hopes of making America, and the world, a better place. Take a moment to thank a veteran for their service on Veterans Day.
 
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

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