Veterans deserve our gratitude, support: Bichotte

Brooklyn Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte
Photo by Tequila Minsky

As America celebrated Veteran’s Day on Wednesday, Brooklyn Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte says the nation’s veterans deserve more gratitude and support.

“The sight of a soldier embracing family after returning home is a beautiful and unforgettable scene. For many, though, the reunion signals the beginning of a new set of challenges,” said Bichotte, representative for the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn.

“Veterans face many obstacles as they strive to re-enter civilian life and the workforce, often while coping with the physical and psychological repercussions of defending our freedoms,” added the first ever Haitian American from New York City to be elected to the State Legislature.

Bichotte said Veterans Day is a time to recognize these heroes for their service to the country and to “renew our commitment to getting them the support they deserve.”

Home to nearly 900,000 veterans, she said New York State has a “moral responsibility” to care for service members who have returned home.

Unfortunately, she said statistics show that about half of all post-9/11 service members will face some period of unemployment on their return.

In addition, the assemblywoman said veterans make up 12 percent of the adult homeless population in the US, including a growing number of women with children.

This year, the State Assembly unanimously passed legislation that would direct key state agencies to gather information on the state’s homeless veterans and their children, “so we may better support them (A.434),” Bichotte said.

In addition, the Assembly passed a new law creating the Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund, to which New Yorkers can easily contribute by simply checking a box on their income tax forms.

In the fight against veteran homelessness, Bichotte said effective job placement is a powerful resource.

That’s why, she said, the Assembly Majority has continually passed laws to help veterans find meaningful and well-paid work, including tax credits for small businesses that hire veterans and the Veterans Employment Act to help give veterans temporary staffing jobs in state agencies.

At the same time, Bichotte noted that the federal GI bill continues to help veterans earn a college degree.

Home loan programs and property tax exemptions for veterans also help ‘our heroes fulfill the American dream of homeownership,” she said.

“Once veterans have transitioned back into civilian life, we must continue to say thank you,” Bichotte said. “Though we should always remember to thank our veterans, Nov. 11 serves as a yearly reminder to reflect on their sacrifices.”

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