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The Assembly Minority Conference

May Is Military Appreciation Month

Legislative Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

Military Appreciation Month provides us with the opportunity to recognize the outstanding sacrifices our armed forces make each day to protect our freedoms and keep us safe. We owe a great deal to the men and women who have chosen to serve our nation, and this month I urge all New Yorkers to make an extra effort to show your appreciation to our incredible military.

May was chosen as Military Appreciation Month for a number of reasons, explains, including that the month holds Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day, Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Victory in Europe (VE) Day, each contributing their own special significance to the military community and our country.

Throughout our nation’s history, our military has been on the front lines of every major global conflict. They fought against the horrors of tyranny, the hatred of terrorists and have provided immeasurable relief and humanitarian aid in every corner of the globe. The U.S. military is, just as it has been for centuries, the greatest force for good in the world.

There is no shortage of ways to celebrate Military Appreciation Month. I have always found it rewarding to actively thank our service members – and their families – for all they have done, and all they continue to do. As we continue our work in the Legislature, my colleagues and I remain committed to fighting to protect the interests of our military, their families and especially their spouses, who also sacrifice so much on our behalf. Some of the measures our Conference has advocated for include:

  • Independent Veterans Services Agency, which directs the Division of Veterans’ Services to conduct a study on converting the Division of Veterans’ Services to an administrative agency independent of the executive department (A.3725, Ashby);
  • College Tuition for Family Members of Fallen Military Personnel, which allows surviving dependent family members of state military personnel to receive free tuition, room and board at SUNY or CUNY institutions (A.3549, Hawley);
  • Military Pay Income Tax Exemption Extension, which extends the state Personal Income Tax exemption that is currently for active duty troops stationed overseas to include New York residents stationed within the U.S. (A.5070, Hawley);
  • Green Alert System for Missing Military Members, which establishes a statewide green alert system for missing military members who have elected to join the system and who suffer from a mental illness (A.3585, Ashby);
  • Veteran Housing Discrimination, which adds those who hold a veteran status to the protected classes in order to defend against unlawful housing discrimination (A.3561, Ashby); and
  • Leave of Absence for Military Spouses, which expands leave of absence for military spouses (A.3506, Hawley).

For those serving now – we celebrate those individuals, tomorrow, on Armed Forces Day – you have my unyielding gratitude. Everything we do here at home is made possible because we are protected and defended by you. And, of course, for those who have served before and especially those who have died, we are eternally grateful for your service.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 19 Canalview Mall, Fulton, NY 13069 and by email at