Last week, a truly bi-partisan group of Assembly and Senate members came together to create the Armed Forces Legislative Caucus, with the goal to lobby state and federal agencies on issues that are important to veterans and active-duty service men and women. The 17 members of the Senate and 23 Assembly members of this caucus have all served or are currently serving in the armed forces.
This legislative caucus will focus on preserving jobs and maintaining an effective military presence within our state. Specifically, it will be stepping up lobbying efforts against the upcoming round of BRAC, Base Realignment and Closure, scheduled for 2004. Closings such as these hurt our state’s economy and adversely affect the ability of our service men and women to respond to natural or man-made disasters.
The caucus will also concentrate on addressing issues such as veterans’ benefits and protecting the force structure of the reserve components based in New York. Homeland security and the state’s economic well-being are among the issues the caucus will focus on.
I applaud the efforts of these Assemblymen and Senators who are working hard on behalf of the dedicated men and women of our military. Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we support and address the needs of our veterans and active-duty service men and women who have put their lives on the line, defending our freedom.