Success!! Yesterday the NYC Council passed three bills (Ints. 611, 619, & 600) that the NYC Veterans Alliance pushed for, discussed at length, and testified on earlier this month. This was a proud day for us, and we were invited to attend Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's press conference on these important reforms. Council Members Ulrich, Eugene, and Vallone all spoke in detail on these bills that they helped to develop with community input, and Council Speaker Mark-Viverito introduced Kristen Rouse to speak as a veteran advocate who helped with pushing these bills toward their final passage yesterday.
Here are Kristen's remarks from the press conference:
Thank you, Madame Speaker. It's an honor to be here today.
I personally believe New York City is the greatest City in the world, and following my overseas deployments there's no place I could've been prouder or happier to come home to than here.
Reform of the NYC Veterans Advisory Board has been long overdue. This reform legislation will breathe new life in to the Veterans Advisory Board, improving both accountability to and representation of our City's incredibly diverse community of veterans and their families.
This new legislation will also ensure that the City will track and report data on veterans receiving City services. NYC government cannot honestly say it's taking care of veterans until it is able to quantify and examine how City agencies are reaching out to our veterans. This legislation finally begins that process.
On behalf of the NYC Veterans Alliance, I want to commend the Speaker, the City Council, and especially Council Members Ulrich, Eugene, and Vallone, and the Veterans Committee, for spearheading this important legislation. I also want to thank my fellow veteran advocates, particularly the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), for their important work in pushing this legislation forward.
Together we are making NYC a more truly veteran-friendly City.