The Elizabeth Veterans Council expressed disappointment with Senator Joseph Cryan’s failure to address inadequate compliance with the 2015 state law that sets aside a percentage of state procurement contracts for veteran-owned businesses.
This comes after the Garden State Initiative and the New Jersey State Veterans Chamber of Commerce released a report highlighting the state’s failure to meet the requirements of the law.
According to the report, only two out of the 72 state agencies with procurement power are enforcing the law, and none of them are reporting their numbers as required.
This lack of enforcement has resulted in New Jersey being ranked 49th out of 50 states for supporting veteran-owned businesses.
“An independent study ranked New Jersey 49th out of 50 states for supporting veteran owned businesses,” stated GSI’s president Regina M. Egea. “This report shows there’s been a complete failure of state bureaucracy. We have a sacred obligation to support our veterans when they return home from military service and this report offers a path forward for our state to keep that commitment.”
“Veterans bring training, skills, and life experiences that uniquely position them to succeed in business – if given the opportunity and support in transitioning to civilian life. We need the state to do its part,” stated Col. Jeff Cantor (U.S. Army, Ret.), founder and CEO of the New Jersey State Veterans Chamber of Commerce, who co-authored the report.
With thousands of veteran-owned businesses in our state, nearly 1,000 of which are members of the state Veterans Chamber, those businesses will immediately benefit by the enforcement of existing law.
“The Elizabeth Veterans Council feels Senator Cryan should be replaced for failing to take action to enforce the law and support veteran-owned businesses in our state,” said U.S. Army veteran Dr. Mrylene Thelot-Dupont. “This is unacceptable, as veterans bring unique skills, training, and experience that can be leveraged for business success but politicians like Senator Cryan are getting rich at taxpayer expense and packing family members into jobs that pay them with public money.”
“New Jersey has thousands of veteran-owned businesses, that could have benefited from the enforcement of this existing law,” said Thelot-Dupont, also known as Marie DuPont, who is running for Assembly on Column B along with Cryan’s Democratic primary challenger, Angela Alvey-Wimbush.
“We have a sacred obligation to support our veterans when they return home from military service, and this report shows that the state bureaucracy has completely failed to do so,” said Alvey-Wimbush, who added that she intends to “take this report seriously and work towards meeting or exceeding the requirements of the state-mandated Disabled Veteran Owned Business law.”
The report also offers a vision for improving the state’s support for veteran-owned businesses through a series of strategic initiatives. These include creating an executive task force and legislative sub-committee to support veteran business advocacy, enforcing or raising the 3% DVOB set-aside law, and implementing policy changes to better support veteran economic development.
Thelot-Dupont said the Elizabeth Veterans Council believes that it is critical to care for our nation’s military veterans by preparing and connecting them to careers after military service.
This includes living up to the state’s obligations to support veteran-owned businesses, which will help to address issues such as financial insecurity, difficulty accessing capital, and difficulty transitioning to civilian life.
The Garden State Initiative is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening New Jersey by providing an alternative voice and commonsense policy solutions that promote new investment, the growth of jobs, the creation of economic opportunities, and innovation to the benefit of all New Jerseyans.
The NJ State Veterans Chamber of Commerce is an organization tasked with improving the economic environment for veterans, disabled veterans, military spouses, and student veterans throughout New Jersey and beyond.
The Elizabeth Veterans Council is comprised of representatives from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, Iraq War Veterans Organization, Marine Corps League, National Association for Black Veterans, Polish Legion of American Veterans, Military Officers Association of America, the American Legion, American Veterans Committee, Army and Navy Union, and other patriotic veterans organizations.
The group also faulted Cryan for neglecting to stop the financial exploitation of nursing home residents.
New Jersey nursing homes and other long-term care facility owners, operators, managers, and employees have been found to benefit financially from managing the affairs of patients in long-term care, often taking advantage without facing any oversight.
Cryan did not offer his support to a bill, co-sponsored by Democratic Senator Joseph F. Vitale and Republican Senator Robert W. Singer, that will attempt to prevent financial exploitation in long-term care.