Answering The Call For Help

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Inside_the_Statehouseby Assemblyman Joseph Vas

In my years of public service, one thing always remains the same: When times are good, the public generally asks government to limit its influence, but when rough economic times hit the public often turns to the government for answers. Today we find ourselves in the midst of a sobering economic recession and many New Jerseyans are turning to their representatives for help. I understand and see first hand the struggles that families are facing and have been honored to answer that call.

As Assemblyman for the 19th Legislative District, I promised to serve as your eyes and ears in Trenton. This past weekend, I brought the best of Trenton to you. We often hear about the wide array of government services available. However, sometimes we run into bureaucratic roadblocks and do not know how to access these services. On Saturday, Feb. 28, I brought those services right here to the 19th Legislative District in an event appropriately named Community Outreach Day.

For weeks, my legislative district office has been working to organize a comprehensive event for residents to explore the extensive array of the local non-profit, state, and federal programs and services available to them. In total, 23 government and non-profit organizations presented attendees with expert advice and literature of how individuals and families can access their services.

From NJ Family Care who were on hand to promote their health insurance programs to NJ Shares providing applications for those seeking utility assistance to the Federal Communications Commission on hand to explain the June 12 transition from analog to digital television, these were just a sample of the many resources present. I want to thank all those organizations who graciously gave up their Saturday to join us at the Raritan Bay Area YMCA in Perth Amboy. Many thanks go to our hosts, the YMCA for their admirable hospitality and unmatched cooperation throughout the entire process.

In an effort to assist our senior citizens and persons with disabilities, my office is currently working with those eligible to apply for the state’s Property Tax Reimbursement program, otherwise known as the “Senior Freeze.” For those unfamiliar with the program, the Senior Freeze program reimburses eligible seniors and disabled persons for property tax increases. I highly encourage all eligible persons to take full advantage of the property tax relief you deserve.

The deadline to apply is June 1. If interested in learning more about eligibility requirements, please contact my office or visit the program’s official website at www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/propfrez.shtml.

I would also like to remind residents who are seeking home energy assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the deadline is April 30. Applications are available at my district office. Please do not hesitate to call with your questions or concerns.

These days, you cannot pick up a newspaper without reading about the federal stimulus dollars. In a very short time the money that has been approved by Congress will be in our hands. The State Assembly will be holding committee hearings in March with members of the executive branch to ensure that the taxpayers’ dollars are being spent efficiently and effectively. As a member of the Assembly Budget Committee, I will work diligently with my colleagues to ensure that New Jersey take full advantage in the most prudent manner of every dollar it receives from the federal government.

Furthermore, I assure you that as Chairman of the Commerce and Economic Development Committee, I will work to secure federal funds for new economic development opportunities and conduct proper oversight while instituting measures of accountability.

As always, I look forward to continuing to keep you informed regarding my constituent and legislative initiatives. Should you have ideas of how I can better serve you, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 276 Hobart Street, Perth Amboy, 732-324-5955 or via e-mail at AsmVas@njleg.org, should you have any questions, concerns or proposals regarding legislative matters. As promised, I will never stop working for you.


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