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Queens Chronicle

Meng talks vets’ issues on Flag Day

Calls for more federal support for VA hospital, veterans service centers

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Posted: Thursday, June 21, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 2:38 pm, Thu Jun 28, 2012.

Assemblywoman Grace Meng touted her support of veterans issues last Thursday in a Flag Day press conference at Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village.

Surrounded by a handful of veterans, Meng (D-Flushing) said she has been an advocate for their issues in the Assembly.

“Our nation’s veterans have sacrificed so much for their country and they deserve the best from us,” Meng said. “When I am in Congress, I will be a fierce advocate for the needs of veterans — whether they are health needs, employment opportunities, housing or education access.”

Meng said her record of support includes a measure pending in the Legislature that would help businesses owned by veterans compete for state government contracts.

“We help women- and minority-owned businesses,” Meng said. “We can do the same thing for veterans, who come back and have the skills and the willingness to start businesses.”

The assemblywoman said approximately 67,000 vets call Queens home, but that right now there is not a list or registry of veteran-owned businesses that could assist them on government contracts.

On the national level, Meng said she would seek more funding for the St. Albans VA hospital. She also wants more funding for satellite Veterans Service Centers, which she said can help in myriad ways, including cutting red tape for those applying for benefits.

She said that help can be vital for those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with mental health issues.

“Many times they just don’t know that help is available, or where to go,” Meng said.

On related military issues, Meng said she hopes that the military drawdown in Afghanistan will allow reallocation of money from the defense budget. She also said circumstances could possibly arise that would justify some sort of United State involvement to stop the ongoing massacres in Syria.

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