Serving Our Veterans

Key Policies:

- Create programs to train health providers in veteran care

- Enhance veteran education programs

- Fund community programs for mental health challenges 

Politicians love to give lip service to our veterans, but when push comes to shove, they do very little to actually help them reintegrate into society. I'm not here for a photo-op with our veterans, I'm here to actually help those who are on the streets, looking for jobs, and wanting to reintegrate into society. So let's focus on public-private partnerships and good policy that will actually get this done.

While the VA is admirable in its goals, we need to also acknowledge that veterans want to get back to their community health providers. However, those civilian providers don't have the necessary training to address the health needs of our veterans, putting them at a disadvantage when it comes to receiving treatment. That is why I am proposing the development of new programs run through all of our public medical and nursing schools that focus on the health needs of veterans. It's a simple solution that our Legislature and Governor have yet to propose that places NY's veterans at a unique risk for chronic health issues.

We also need to create a number of programs that ensure our veterans get good jobs and homes after they return from war. This includes helping veterans get education from trade schools and public college for limited or no cost so they don't get stuck in minimum wage jobs with little opportunity for advancement. This means that we need to stop for-profit colleges from going after our soldiers to make a quick buck while we sit and do nothing. It also means a number of public-private partnerships to make sure that veterans are being given the opportunity to grow and expand their skills, instead of hamstrung by an economy that wasn't built for some of our bravest citizens.

Most importantly, we need to expand community programs for veterans to reduce the rates of mental health issues when coming back from war. I challenge anyone who believes that soldiers haven't been coming back from war with trauma to actually spend some time in those communities and tell them that the issues they face are made up. Sadly, we as a society have been slow since the 1960s to find beneficial ways to bring our troops home in ways that prevent them from struggling greatly. So the solution here is simple, work with programs designed by doctors and veterans that address re-integration and trauma so that we can start to heal the pain NY's troops come back with.