Rep. Delgado Focuses On Veterans' Issues

Nov 8, 2019

New York Congressman Antonio Delgado has been focusing on veterans’ issues in recent days. The Democrat tells WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne he has introduced a bipartisan bill pertaining to local veteran cemeteries.

The Democrat from the 19th House district’s bill is called the Fairness for Local Veteran Cemeteries Act.

The bill would allow counties to apply for veterans’ cemetery funding provided that the state does not have any state-operated cemeteries in its jurisdiction.

Delgado introduced the bill with Republicans Elise Stefanik of New York; Brian Mast of Florida; and Don Young of Alaska. Oregon is the fourth state with county-operated veterans’ cemeteries. Delgado and Stefanik have co-sponsored other veterans’ measures, including one in February with North Carolina Republican Ted Budd that honors the life of Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent of Pine Plains, Dutchess County. The resolution marks her service to the nation and calls for the Department of Defense and Department of the Navy to review the policies that, following Chief Kent’s thyroid cancer, deemed her fit to serve in Syria but barred her from pursuing a Ph.D.

Delgado was set to hold a Veteran Reintegration Panel at midday Friday in Troy. Panel participants are discussing employment opportunities, mental health support, VA benefits and community engagement for veterans following military service. The panel includes community leaders, heads of veteran support organizations and others, including Republican state Assemblyman Jake Ashby.

Delgado, who notes there are more than 40,000 veterans living in his 19th District, says there are a number of bills he wants to see make it to the president’s desk. One is the bipartisan Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act. It would provide the surviving spouse of a service-disabled veteran with a federal contracting preference as a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business with the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Small Business Administration.

In May, Delgado introduced bipartisan legislation to address the unemployment crisis for military spouses with his Military Spouse Hiring Act. It expands the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to include the hiring of qualified military spouses, allowing employers to claim a tax credit equal to a portion of the wages paid to those spouses.

On Thursday, Delgado visited the Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie Counties Workforce Career Center in Cobleskill, which offers resources to help veterans navigate the job market and find employment as they transition to civilian life.

Meantime, Delgado will host his 28th town hall in Sullivan County Saturday, his third in Sullivan. The hour-long town hall begins at 4 at SUNY Sullivan in the Kaplan Student Union.