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City Council Member Eric Ulrich and Assemblyman Mike Miller held a veterans town hall last Wednesday night, Oct. 15, at American Legion Post 118 in Woodhaven to discuss issues impacting local veterans and their families.
Ulrich, who chairs the City Council’s Veterans Committee, touched upon legislation the panel has explored, including various local laws and resolutions to improve city services for veterans and returning military members. Miller briefed the audience on strides the State Legislature made this past session for veterans and the Assembly’s 2015 plans.
Ulrich and Miller were joined by Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Loree Sutton; New York State Division of Veterans Affairs Deputy Director Jamal Othman; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Outreach Specialist Edward Perry; Vietnam Veterans of America National President John Rowan; Veterans of Foreign Wars Queens County Commander Ryan Graham; American Legion Queens County Adjutant Paul Schottenhamel; and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Senior Program Manager Jason Hansman.
Veterans representing other service organizations and neighborhoods throughout Queens were present for the event as well.
“This was the first of many town hall events I plan on sponsoring that will bring together elected officials, government representatives, veterans service organizations, and the community in an effort to raise awareness about important issues facing New York City’s veterans,” said Ulrich.
“This upcoming session, I will make it a priority to pass legislation that I have introduced to give veterans’ services organizations 120-days to rectify violations given by city agencies as well as legislation that would create a voluntary contribution on the state personal income tax return for veterans’ services organizations,” added Miller. “I am committed to fight for our veterans in the Assembly to get them the services that they need including state funding assistance for the burial of indigent or unclaimed veterans.”
“I thank Council Member Ulrich and Assemblyman Miller for this opportunity to inform veterans on the adverse effects on their health from military service,” Rowan said. “In particular, their exposure to toxic substances such as Agent Orange in Vietnam and other locations; various poisons in Iraq during the first Gulf War; and the ‘burn pits’ and other issues in Iraq and Afghanistan. Further, we ask everyone to support S.2738 and HR 5484, legislation that would provide funding for studies on the effects of toxic substances on the progeny of veterans since Vietnam.”