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2019 Public Advocate Special Election Voter Guide

 

rallypic.jpgOn Tuesday, February 26th, 2019, New York City will elect the next Public Advocate. The office of Public Advocate is one of three citywide elected officials, and is the first in line to succeed the Mayor. It is the role of the Public Advocate to champion the public and ensure government is responsive to its needs. In recent years, the office has included a veterans’ liaison and taken on key roles and legislation to improve the lives of NYC veterans and families.

The NYC Veterans Alliance presents this Voter Guide for informational purposes to our community. We contacted candidates eligible to stand in the Special Election scheduled for February 26, 2019, and solicited their responses on key questions of concern to our membership. This Guide makes no endorsement; candidates are listed in the order in which they responded.

View this Voter Guide as a PDF by clicking HERE.

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UPDATE: Standing Against Discrimination in the Military

 

lgbtq_equality.jpgEvery move toward inclusion in the U.S. military has met with political and social resistance, even from veterans' organizations. Whether it was racial desegregation, integration of women, or repealing "don't ask, don't tell"--controversial moves toward inclusion of qualified servicemembers have nevertheless made our nation's military stronger and more inclusive of our nation's richly diverse talent, perspectives, and skillsets. Ensuring that qualified transgender troops can continue to serve in the military is no less controversial--and no less critical. 

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Update: Pay Our Defenders!

 

coastguard.jpgIf you serve in four branches of our nation's uniformed services--the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force--you are receiving pay during the current federal shutdown. But if you're serving in uniform in the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health Service, and NOAA to defend New York Harbor and other areas of our nation and national interests across the globe--you aren't receiving pay during the shutdown. In NYC especially, that's a severe hardship for you and your family. Our defenders shouldn't be forced to suffer because of political turmoil in Washington, DC.

Last Monday, we called on on Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and the NYC Congressional delegation to immediately pass legislation to pay all of our nation's uniformed service members, to include those who defend our own city and our harbor.

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Update: Fair Fares for Student Veterans

 

fairfares.jpgLast June, Mayor de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson announced that the "Fair Fares" policy would go into effect on January 1, 2019, providing half-price Metrocards for approximately 800,000 New Yorkers in need of transit fare relief, to include more than 12,000 veterans enrolled in NYC colleges. It's now the second week of January--where are Fair Fares for student vets?

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Thanks for Making 2018 Great!

 

Thanks to our Members, Sponsors, Community Partners for an amazing 2018 of advocacy, community-building, and making NYC a better place for veterans and families! Take a look at our highlights reel:

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2018 Champion Advocate: Rep. Dan Donovan

 

20180601_103825.jpgAt our Holiday Mixer on December 17, 2018, we honored Congressman Dan Donovan as our 2018 Champion Advocate. As Representative of New York's 11th Congressional District, Congressman Donovan has held regular roundtables with veterans of his district and has also been quick to respond when veterans have raised concerns about the NY VA Harbor Healthcare System's Brooklyn Campus located in his district. 

 

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2018 Champion Sustainer: Craig Newmark

 

craig.jpgAt our Holiday Mixer on December 17, 2018, we honored Craigslist founder and philanthropist Craig Newmark as our 2018 Champion Sustainer. This year, Craig renewed his support for the NYC Veterans Alliance with a landmark sustaining gift of $150,000, which has made a profound impact as we grow into our fourth year of connecting our community and advancing veterans and families as civic leaders in NYC and beyond. 

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Defending Student Veterans in NYC

 

presser_300.jpgLast July, we stood with Public Advocate Tish James as she introduced a bill to the NYC Council to ensure city government provides support to student veterans and holds exploitive for-profit colleges accountable if they fail to deliver quality education to veterans using their GI Bill educational benefits. Video of that press conference is HERE and our statement of support for the bill's introduction is HERE.

Today that bill at last was brought to a joint hearing of the Council's Committees on Veterans and Higher Education. Director of Policy & Legislative Advocacy Sam Molik delivered testimony on behalf of the Alliance. His testimony is below:

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Update from the Field: Thank You T-Mobile & Volunteers!

 

101st_1_small.jpgIt took some time for us to receive proper clearance from military authorities, but we're proud to share the results of our July partnership with T-Mobile:

Thanks to T-Mobile and the dozens of volunteers who assembled care packages with us last July, soldiers deployed across seven different countries from the 101st Signal Brigade, New York National Guard, received 300+ care packages to let them know those of us back home are thinking of them as they serve our nation abroad.

Right: U.S. Army National Guard Spc. Yaileny Gonzalez of Alpha Company, 101st Signal Battalion, New York National Guard, 160th Signal Brigade, receives goodies and personal-care items, Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

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Ensuring the Right Support for Veterans with 'Bad Paper'

 

On November 26th, 2018, our Director of Policy & Legislative Advocacy, Sam Molik, testified before the NYC Council Committees on Veterans in a hearing on Introductions 1218 and 479, which propose to create a discharge upgrade assistance unit at the Department of Veterans’ Services and offer discharge upgrade assistance and extending city veteran benefits to service members who were discharged because of their LGBTQ status.

Below is his testimony:

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