[OPINION] Vote “Yes” On Question No. 1

by Jim Amos, state commander, American Legion, Department of New Jersey

I am sure that many of you have been to a veterans organization post at some time, possibly for a family party, a wedding reception, a fund raising dinner, or to honor our veterans at a Veterans Day service. With that in mind, I ask you to help those post homes stay in business by voting yes for Ballot Question number 1 on Election Day, Nov. 5.

You see, many of these organizations, like local American Legion posts, are living from fundraiser to fundraiser, with little extra cash put away for a rainy day, so if a fire or hurricane destroys the building, reconstructing can be insurmountable. With many of these structures 50 to 60 years old, even paying for upkeep can be a strain. The challenges of insufficient funds could cause some of these organizations to fold, taking away from the community a vital partner, supporter and community center.

Ballot Question Number 1 asks you, the voter, to approve a Constitutional Amendment which will allow veterans organizations to use the net proceeds from games of chance to give them greater financial flexibility to pay their bills, something already permitted for senior citizen organizations. Passage will not cost the taxpayer anything, but it will enable their local veterans organization to continue to provide the invaluable services that their community has come to depend upon, such as sponsoring Boy and Girl Scout troops; sending local students to Boys & Girls State; enhancing education in the schools with a patriotic coloring contest, safety essay contest and an oratorical contest on the Constitution; supporting Hiring Our Heroes job fairs, events at veterans homes and aiding local veterans or our troops.

This is a vital piece of legislation for the viability of many of our veterans posts. The closure of a post would have a rippling negative effect throughout the community with the loss of programs, services and events that residents have come to expect. We ask the citizens of New Jersey to support us by voting yes on Public Question number 1 on Election Day.

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