TRENTON – Senator John H. Adler today said he believes a full standing Senate committee is needed to deal with the “family, health, education and employment issues” affecting New Jersey military personnel and veterans.
With thousands of National Guard troops from New Jersey being ordered to Iraq by President Bush and a new study showing that many returning reservists are exhibiting serious mental health issues, Senator Adler said legislative responses could be expedited by a Senate Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs.
“A committee dedicated entirely to military and veterans affairs could focus attention on and expedite legislative action for the needs of our service men and women, both active and retired,” Senator Adler said.
Senator Adler made his request in a letter (attached) sent to Senate President Richard J. Codey.
November 15, 2007
Senate President Richard J. Codey
449 Mount Pleasant Avenue
West Orange, N.J. 07052
Dear Mr. President,
New Jersey veterans are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with family, health, education and employment issues that could be influenced greatly by enhanced attention from the New Jersey Legislature.
A recent order by President Bush will result in nearly half of our State’s 6,000 National Guard troops being returned to Iraq or assigned there for the first time within a few short months.
And just today, a study was released in the Journal of the American Medical Association finding that more than 40 percent of Army reservists need treatment for mental health problems, ranging from post traumatic stress disorder to depression, with symptoms surfacing only months after they return to the United States.
These realities for our military personnel and their families prompt me to request that you create a full standing reference committee in the Senate for Military and Veterans Affairs for the new legislative session.
I believe such a committee is needed to ensure that the Senate’s legislative review process keeps pace with developing military requirements for defending our interests here and abroad.
A committee dedicated entirely to military and veterans affairs could focus attention on and expedite legislative action for the needs of our service men and women, both active and retired.
The Office of Legislative Services reports that the last full standing Senate committee devoted entirely to military and veterans affairs met in 1967. That was 40 years ago and at the height of the Vietnam Conflict. In retrospect, considering the social and health problems faced by returning Vietnam Veterans, it was probably a mistake to disband that panel.
While those of us in the Legislature today cannot re-write history, we can attempt to deal more effectively and expeditiously with the problems our military personnel and veterans face in this era of armed conflicts and international terrorism.
I would be honored to be considered for membership on a Senate Committee for Military and Veterans Affairs should you agree with me that its creation is warranted and necessary.
Thank you for considering my request which reflects the petitions of key military personnel and veterans in New Jersey whose opinions I respect.
John H. Adler
6th Legislative District