Buono Voices Concerns About The Safety Of Our Residents While Many National Gard Members Are Deployed

TRENTON – Senator Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex and Chairwoman of Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the testimony of Major General Glenn Rieth on the State’s preparedness during a disaster at today’s hearing on the FY 2009 Budget of the State Department of Military and Veterans’ Affairs.

“There is a great need for our citizen soldiers to serve our country overseas and although I fully support the troops and their families during these difficult times, I am concerned that the deployments may jeopardize the safety of New Jersey residents.

“With a significant portion of the New Jersey National Guard, currently deployed or scheduled to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, it is important to know that New Jersey will not be vulnerable in the event of a terrorist attack, flood, or some other emergency.

“I am happy to hear Major General Rieth’s assessment that the relationship with the Office of Homeland Security, State Police and National Guard is strong and that all units are prepared to work together in any emergency.

“Overseas deployments can take away from the main purpose of the guard, which is to respond to emergencies in New Jersey. With half of our guard members on deployment, I want to continue to monitor our State’s homeland security resources to make sure that we will be prepared for any disasters that may strike.”