Albany, N.Y. – 01/10/2014 – Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson), Chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, and veterans organizations and businesses statewide hosted an Albany “Jobs For Heroes” Lobby Day on Monday, February 10th, at the New York State Capitol to lobby for the passage of the “NY Jobs For Heroes” program (S2803B).
The initiative, that would create a 5% state contract preference for service-connected disabled veteran owned small businesses, was recently supported in Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address. Senator Greg Ball organized the lobby day to ensure that set aside is included in Governor Cuomo’s 30 day amended budget.
“For years, we have been working to pass the ‘NY Jobs For Heroes’ program. I am so excited to partner with Governor Cuomo to make 2014 the year that we provide this 5% set aside. We do a very good job in this country of getting young men and women to raise that right hand and say that they are willing to fight and die for the United States of America, but we do not do a great job, either as a state or a nation, in transitioning those men and women back into the workforce. With Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York is finally going to join the 44 other states and the federal government that have already successfully implemented this program,” said Senator Greg Ball, Chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee. “One in seven veterans are self-employed or small business owners. The same attributes that make these people so vital to defending our freedom are the same hard earned intangibles that make them exceptional at running their businesses and creating jobs. This set aside will literally take thousands of veterans off of the unemployment line and will save lives by confronting the real epidemic of veteran suicide, by providing meaningful and lasting employment.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his support for the initiative in a statement.
“Supporting small businesses owned by New York’s service-disabled veterans is just one way that we can honor the tremendous sacrifice that these brave individuals have made for our State and nation,” Governor Cuomo said. “This legislation will help us meet the goal of awarding five percent of all State contracts to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and will play a large part in our ongoing efforts to create new economic opportunities for the men and women of the U.S. armed forces.”
Senator Greg Ball’s legislation has repeatedly passed in the Senate since it was introduced in 2007. New Yorkers can sign the “Jobs For Heroes” petition by visiting: www.nysenate.gov/webform/petition-ny-jobs-heroes-program.
The lobby day was a combined effort to advocate for the passage of legislation (S2803B) that will create a state contract preference for service-connected disabled veteran owned small businesses in New York State. The legislation mirrors the highly successful federal program that is presently established for a contract set aside, and similar legislation has been enacted in forty-four other states.
Former Chief Executive Officer of HBO, Bill Nelson, testified at the hearing. Mr. Nelson is a Vietnam combat veteran that actively supports efforts to help our veterans and their families in need through his participation in veteran focused charities.
“I believe it is the obligation of every US State to follow the lead of the Federal Government in providing a contract preference to small businesses owned by our service connected disabled veterans. Forty-four states have done so over the past years. It is time for NY State to join in as well. How is it that NY State, attacked on 9/11, leaves behind its sons and daughters who volunteered for military service because of that very attack,” said Bill Nelson. “The great majority of citizens in New York would like to know the rationale for not supporting this effort which simply mirrors the legislation passed by the Federal Government and almost 90 percent of the US States.”
Senator Greg Ball was joined at the press conference and hearing by three service-connected disabled veterans from Drexel Hamilton, LLC. Joseph Krulder II, Carolyn Hulse and Daniel Morales all work at the full-service institutional broker-dealer founded on the principle of offering meaningful employment opportunities to disabled veterans desiring a career in financial services.
“New York’s veterans aren’t looking for a hand-out, they want a fair shot at accessing meaningful career opportunities that allow them to utilize their education, training and skills developed during their service to our nation,” said James Cahill, president of Drexel Hamilton LLC. “Drexel Hamilton will continue to work with Senator Ball to advocate for veteran-owned businesses in New York State, and we are grateful that Governor Andrew Cuomo is also focused on this important issue. It’s time to give New York’s veterans the opportunities they so greatly deserve.”
Academy Securities, a financial services firm that is combating the military unemployment rate by hiring and training military veterans, also joined the lobby day.
“Academy Securities is pleased to take part in the New York State Senate’s Jobs for Heroes Albany Hearing & Lobby Day,” said Michael Boyd, Chief Compliance Officer of Academy Securities. “We are committed to helping our fellow veterans gain meaningful employment after their service and appreciate this opportunity to share our experiences with lawmakers.”
“In his 2014 State of the State Address, Governor Cuomo called for a goal of five percent in the awarding of state contracts to disabled, veteran-owned small businesses. I agreed with this proposal and said so because helping our heroes is one of my top priorities. I am proud to join my colleague Senator Greg Ball in saying it is vitally important that this promise be honored and include – at least – a five percent set aside of state contracts for disabled veteran-owned small businesses in the State Budget. Our veterans served with honor, courage and distinction. New York needs to show its loyalty and deliver the support our veterans need,” said Kathleen A. Marchione (R,C – Halfmoon).
“It is time for New York to join the federal government and the nearly 40 other states in providing this contract set aside for our service-connected disabled veterans. This legislation is long overdue and has proven successful on both the federal and state level. I call on the Assembly to follow the Senate’s lead and pass this legislation to assist our military men and women who have given so much for their country,” said Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson).
“Our brave men and women returning home from overseas do not deserve to stand on the back of the unemployment line. We don’t need another study to know veterans are suffering from an unemployment rate double that of their civilian counterpart. We need to continue to focus on innovative ways to create jobs for all New Yorkers such as the Jobs for Heroes program,” said Senator Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester).
“New York is home to more than 885,000 military veterans, one of biggest populations in the entire country. I have the honor of representing many who served at Fort Drum and in Rome. This is a real opportunity for those with a service-connected disability to begin a second career here. We simply should not be lagging behind 44 other states and the federal government, all of which have passed this common-sense legislation. Let’s support our small business owners and get this bill done this year,” said Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R-C-I Rome).
“I am pleased to co-sponsor this legislation, and am confident that, in addition to helping the brave men and women who have served our nation, it will also help New York state as a whole. It is time for us to join the federal government and a majority of other states in providing our veterans with this well-deserved opportunity,” said Senator David Valesky (D – Oneida).
“We owe it to our veterans to increase the job opportunities available to them. Too many come home after serving our country only to be unable to find gainful employment. For those who have sustained service-connected disabilities, the debt we owe is even greater. This important bill is one way we can ensure they can come home to New York and have opportunities to thrive as they return to civilian life,” said Senator Young.
“On behalf of the more than 300,000 Vietnam and Vietnam-era veterans, the largest single block of veterans in New York State’s population of almost one million veterans, the Vietnam Veterans of America New York State Council applauds Senator Greg Ball’s efforts to pass this much-needed legislation, and urges the Governor to include, in his final budget, the 5% set-aside he prescribed as a goal in his State of the State address,” said Ned D. Foote, President, Vietnam Veterans of America New York State Council.
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