By Michael M. Shapiro
Assemblyman Bob Straniere, a conservative Republican running for the 13th Congressional District seat in New York, recently announced the Wounded Warrior Workplace Initiative, a proposal to encourage the hiring of wounded veterans or their families by members of Congress and congressional candidates. As part of the Wounded Warrior Workplace Initiative, Mr. Straniere has created The Straniere Pledge, to hire wounded veterans or members of their immediate family for at least one-third of his congressional staff.
Straniere, a Vietnam-era veteran who served as an officer in the U.S. Army, is definitely on to something. While he is running for Congress this year and his Initiative will likely garner him support for that bid, his proposal is one that should be adopted by members of Congress, especially since they are our representatives who decide when and if to send servicemen and women into battle at great risk of death and/or injury.
With tens of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans returning to the United States seriously injured and seeking work, and with the economy continuing to sputter, it is imperative that America’s heroes return to the workforce and not become the most recent additions to the soup kitchen line. While members of Congress could not possibly employ every injured veteran, by dedicating a third of their staff to positions for capable returnees, they are sending a powerful message to business owners throughout the country that they also need to do their part to create a seamless transition for veterans from military service to employment in the private sector.
America’s heroes deserve no less. Our Congressional representatives, particularly those who voted and continue to vote to send our men and women to war, owe a special debt of gratitude for their service. Hiring at least one-third of their staffs from the ranks of injured veterans or their families is a step in the right direction.
Michael M. Shapiro, founder of ShapTalk.com, is an attorney who resides in New Providence. He currently serves as the editor of The Alternative Press, www.thealternativepress.com Contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org