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Poughkeepsie, NY- The Dutchess County Legislature’s Family & Human Services Committee unanimously approved a resolution Thursday to restructure and update the mission of the Dutchess County Legislature’s Veterans Affairs Committee. The committee had previously been charged with advising the County Legislature on legislative matters of interest to local veterans. With the adoption of this resolution, the committee would enjoy an expanded role which would allow it to also advise the County Executive on veterans’ affairs, and serve as a support unit to the county’s Division of Veterans Services.
“While we have been blessed to count veterans among our members over the years, not all legislators are in tune with the specific needs of our veteran community, or of the issues that our veterans face as they re-enter the lives they left behind when they served us overseas,” said Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Dale L. Borchert. “The strong ethic of service remains with the veterans on our committee, and they approached us with the hope of expanding from an advisory role, into a more active role in our community. By adopting this resolution, our committee of dedicated citizens will have greater access to county resources and more opportunities to advocate to veterans through closer contact with the Division of Veterans Affairs.
“As a combat veteran, being appointed to the Veterans Affairs Committee upon taking office earlier this year was especially meaningful to me” said Dutchess County Legislator Marc Coviello. “I know that this is a committee that can make a real impact in our community, and I am pleased that we are moving forward with this resolution, which I believe will give us the tools we need to make a difference. I am excited to continue my work and bring my own unique perspective to this committee going forward under its new structure.”
The Dutchess County Legislature originally created the Veterans Affairs Committee in 1995, consisting of twelve members, which was charged with the duty of advising the Dutchess County Legislature on legislative matters of importance to local veterans. The committee will continue to consist of twelve members, at least eight of which must be veterans or the immediate family members of veterans. Terms of appointment will continue to be for a length of two years.
“Until now, the Veterans Affairs Committee has had an important purpose in advising the legislature, but we felt as if there was more we could offer the community if given access to new resources” said Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman John Wirth. “I am happy that the committee will be restructured in a way that will give it a larger role, and it is my hope that this change will help to reinvigorate interest and bring in more people with a passion for serving our local veterans.”
The full legislature will consider this resolution at its board meeting on Monday, August 8th.