According to Senator, Increased Representation on Council Would Strengthen Community Ties to Bases
TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher to strengthen the ties between New Jersey’s communities and local military bases by fostering greater cooperation on the New Jersey Council on Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs was unanimously approved by the Senate Law, Public Safety and Veterans Affairs Committee today.
“Our military bases are a vital component of our State’s economy, and allow New Jerseyans to contribute to the national security and viability of the country’s Armed Forces,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “In the New Jersey municipalities that host military bases, the bases are a key part of the tapestry of community there. By expanding the membership and mission of the Council on Armed Forces, we would allow the Council to work with base commanders in facilitating an open, productive relationship between our State and the local military installations.”
The bill, S-2206, would expand the membership and scope of the mission of the Council on Armed Forces to increase from 10 to 22 members, with the new members including the State Commissioners of Education, Environmental Protection, Community Affairs and Transportation, as well as the Treasurer and the Chair of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education. Additionally, six public members would be added to the Council, bringing the total of public members to nine, and of the nine, eight public members would be required to represent community and business support groups for New Jersey’s military installation. The newly restructured Council would be required to address quality of life issues for New Jersey’s military personnel and their dependents, and facilitate coordinated planning and expedited military construction permits to make base operation easier in the Garden State.
“With the New Jersey military bases in constant threat of closure through the federal BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) process, we need to make New Jersey as hospitable as possible to ensure that our bases avoid the chopping block,” said Senator Karcher. “When you consider the thousands of military and civilian jobs that the military installations provide to New Jersey, the alternative would be absolutely devastating to the Garden State.”
The bill now heads to the Senate for approval before going to the Assembly for consideration.