This past week, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I,Ref-Brooklyn, Staten Island), held two rallies to fight for full restoration of Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget cuts to veterans mental health programs. The proposed budgets of both Gov. Cuomo and Assembly Majority called for a $4.8 million cut to critical veteran services.

In two events, she joined Assemblyman Michael Reilly (R-South Shore) and American Legion Gold Star Post #1365 on Staten Island and Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn), Kings County American Legion and New York City Veterans Alliance in in Brooklyn.

“It’s unconscionable that the governor and Assembly Majority would attempt to cut precious funding that provides peer-to-peer counseling and mental health programs for our veterans. These support services can mean the life or death of a veteran attempting to assimilate back into civilian life while struggling with PTSD. Restoring the money is not only an obligation but a way we can truly thank these veterans, who bravely and unselfishly put their lives on the line for us,” said Malliotakis.

The Assembly Majority cuts include $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.

“Two of the American Legion Department of New York’s legislative priorities are peer-to-peer counseling and mental health. Cuts to programs such as the Joseph P. Dwyer program limit vital support, counseling and assistance to our service members during and after their return from military life. These brave citizens of New York state offered to defend our way of life and we must never turn our backs on them,” said Frank LaMarsh, Staten Island veteran and the American Legion Department of New York’s Legislative Chairman.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Assembly Majority refuses to fund the Dwyer peer-to-peer counseling and other programs for our veterans. I will continue to fight on behalf of my fellow veterans to restore the funding for these critical programs,” said Reilly.