This week Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis celebrated along with Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz and Assemblyman Michael Reilly, her colleagues from both sides of the aisle, both of whom have served in the US military, after every dollar of funding was restored to veterans’ programs in New York State following Governor Cuomo’s proposed $4.8 million cut to veteran services.
The original cuts included a $3.7 million cut to the Joseph P. Dwyer Program, a peer-to-peer counseling and mental health program, and a $1.1 million cut from the Veterans Benefit Advising Program, which assists New York State Veterans, service members and their families to ensure they receive the benefits they earned in service. In addition to having their voices heard in calling for these state-wide restorations, the pro-veteran legislators were also successful in securing $300,000 in additional funding for a peer-to-peer counseling pilot program in New York City.
Malliotakis held a press conference in Brooklyn last month along with Assemblyman Ortiz, the New York City Veterans Alliance and some members of the American legion. A couple of weeks prior the Assemblywoman held a rally at Staten Island’s American Legion Gold Star Post #1365 with her neighboring representative Assemblyman Michael Reilly.
“While I ultimately voted against the majority of the state budget, I could not have been more proud to support legislation which included funding for these programs. There is no better silver lining to this year’s budget than having comfort in the fact that New York State is providing for the men and women who sacrifice the most for our citizens. I will continue to fight for them always,” said Malliotakis
Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz: “Peer to peer veterans’ programs are critical to addressing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). I support these model programs so that veterans can transition into civilian life, find gainful employment, and enjoy life at home with loved ones. New York State should support this program. We owe so much to our veterans for their service.”
“I am thrilled that we were able to stave off the proposed cuts to this vital program, and even secure additional funding for veterans here in New York City,” said Assemblyman Michael Reilly. “This budget may not have been ideal for most New Yorkers, but this is surely a win for my fellow veterans.”