(Mineola -NY) - In 2014 Legislation to help disabled-veteran-owned companies do business with Nassau County won bi-partisan support today, two years after Legislator Laura Curran first proposed the Veteran Owned Business Act (VOBA).
VOBA was intended to give veteran-owned businesses a leg up in securing county contracts, using similar incentives the County offers to minority- and women-owned businesses. It also would have required Nassau’s Veterans Service Agency to create a directory of veteran companies and to maintain a clearinghouse of information on services and programs to help those businesses.
“The idea for the bill I proposed in 2014 was the fruit of a conversation with a constituent,” said Curran. Baldwin resident and veteran expert Meta J. Mereday approached Curran with a proposal to help veterans, who all too often come back from serving their country only to struggle with unemployment, inadequate housing, and mental-health issues.
“The bill wasn’t going anywhere, so earlier this year I approached newly elected Legislator William Gaylor, a Republican and a veteran, to see if we could work together to get it passed,” said Curran. “He took the ball and ran with it, and despite the fact that the new bill doesn’t go as far as the original one, I am delighted that we have a bill that all legislators can get behind.”
“Empowering veteran-owned businesses is key in our overall mission to create jobs, boost the economy, and stabilize the middle class,” said Curran. “Veterans are natural entrepreneurs. They are trained to think on their feet, to quickly adapt to unforeseen conditions, and to work in results-oriented teams. An added benefit is that veterans who own businesses also tend to hire other veterans — and that’s welcome news for our soldiers when they come home.”
“We are encouraged by the steps that Nassau County is finally taking to put veteran business development in the forefront and starting with real outreach to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses,” said Mereday, founder of Veterans Entrepreneurial Development Initiatives, Inc. (VEDI) and co-founder of Long Island Veterans Initiatives at Farmingdale, Inc. (LIVIF). "Being a major part of the development of this historic bill aligns with VEDI’s mission to increase the capacity for all under-utilized veteran-owned businesses so that they can reduce the high rates of veteran unemployment nationwide and the high flight patterns of our veterans here in Nassau and on Long Island,” Mereday said. “We stand ready to build on this initial step to secure real contracting opportunities for all of our veterans so that they can help rebuild our infrastructure and support their families and communities. For us, veteran empowerment equals national security and economic prosperity. This is a start, but let’s not forget that much more needs to be done.”
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