NORWALK, Conn. – State and local officials visited the American Legion Post 12 in Norwalk on Tuesday to thank veterans for their service and to highlight new legislation that benefits military men and women.
Among the visitors were state Sens. Bob Duff and Carlo Leone, House Minority Leader Larry Cafero, Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia, Post 12 Commander Buddy Scudder, Norwalk Veterans Memorial Committee Chairman Dan Caporale and Phillip Kraft, president of the National Veterans Service Fund, as well as many other veterans.
“This Independence Day, as we reflect on our freedom, it is important to honor and thank those who put their lives on the line to serve their country,” said Duff, a Democrat who represents Darien and Norwalk. “Every year, we in the Senate take up legislation that shows our gratitude to veterans by helping improve their lives, sometimes in small ways, sometimes in big ways.”
“Just as our veterans did their duty to protect our country, it is now our responsibility to care for our veterans,” said Leone, a Democrat who represents Stamford and Darien. “The STEP UP job training program will be a great help to the many soldiers now returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq. Since readjusting to civilian life is not always easy, we also passed a bill this year to grant non-violent veteran offenders a second chance in the judicial system."
Other recent legislation include Fairer Taxes for Afghanistan Veterans, which requires cities and towns to waive interest on property taxes owed by soldiers serving in Afghanistan, and Overdue Diplomas for Korean War Veterans, which awards high school diplomas to those who did not receive them because they served in Korea.
Other laws codify crimes concerning desecration of war or veteran memorials, allow veterans to include their status on their driver’s license, and allow disabled veterans free lifetime passes to Connecticut state parks.
“Many veterans have an education, but there are still few jobs out there for them. New training will help. As a veteran, I am privileged to live in a state and a town that understands the value of supporting our troops, and honoring our veterans,” said Scudder.
“When it comes to veterans issues, you won’t see any partisan politics come into play in Hartford. We worked together to pass legislation that will benefit the brave men and women who served their country,” Cafero said.
“I’m very appreciative of the bipartisan nature of our delegation who have worked together to assist our veterans,” Moccia said. “Now from the city’s end, we must work to get the word out to residents about these veterans programs. We will make information about this legislation available on the city’s website.”