Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush hopes to restore education funding for members of the armed forces.
At a recent press conference Blankenbush, who represents much of southern St. Lawrence County, unveiled the Commitment to Military Education Act, which is legislation designed to give tuition breaks to active military personnel through the SUNY system.
The bill was crafted as a response to the federal sequestration cuts to college tuition assistance for members of the military.
“I am thankful for the service of our military personnel in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum – the most deployed Army division in the country. We must do our best to keep the promises we make to these brave men and women, especially in the case of higher education, which is why I am a sponsor of this bill,” said Blankenbush, a Vietnam War veteran. “Our young military veterans are among the hardest hit by joblessness after discharge from duty and we must do our best to keep them equipped with the training and knowledge to successfully transition back into the civilian workforce, but we can’t do that if their tuition assistance is cut by sequestration.
The Commitment to Military Education Act provides a way for our state to stand up for what is right and help honor the promises our federal government made.”
The bill has broad bi-partisan support in the senate and assembly. Blankenbush expects the number of sponsors to grow each day.
The bill, if enacted, would apply to members of the military who were enrolled in the current federal tuition assistance program through any branch of the military.
“It is my hope that the federal government will do the right thing and uphold its promise to our men and women in the armed forces, but if that doesn’t happen, we want them to know that we in New York state will support them,” concluded Blankenbush.
Blankenbush represents the 117th District, which includes a swath up the middle of St. Lawrence County.