Valerie's Voice - May 2014

Dear Friends,

I hope that all of you enjoyed Memorial Day Weekend. As we take a moment to reflect on our fallen heroes and say thank you to all of those who have dedicated their lives to serving our country, I am proud to continue to support our troops, especially when they return home from service. It is important that we always remember and respect the tremendous sacrifices that they make for our freedom.

The month of May has been given several important designations in the State of New Jersey. First, May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month. The need for more mental health services is an important issue that often doesn't get the attention that it deserves. I have advocated and will continue to advocate for additional funds to help support these programs.

May is also recognized as Displaced Homemakers month. It is critical that we help those who have stayed home to care for their families utilize their skills to transition back into the workforce. 

Lastly, in honor of Asian-Pacific Heritage Month, I had the pleasure of joining my Bergen County colleagues in welcoming several prominent Bergen County Asian-Pacific leaders to Trenton to be recognized for their advocacy. I also joined Senator Menendez at a Korean American issues forum featuring both the Korean Ambassador to the United States and the United States Ambassador to Korea.

Additionally, this month I attended a rally at the JCC of Tenafly to continue my advocacy on AR131.  AR131 is my resolution calling for immediate action to locate and safely return the 270 girls who were abducted by the Boko Haram terrorist group in Nigeria. These innocent girls were taken from their families only because they wanted to educate themselves, and it is important that we continue to fight for their safe return.

Finally, after 30 years of advocacy I am pleased to report that adoptees will have the same access to birth certificates as other New Jersey residents. The compromise bill which I sponsored with Assembly Speaker Prieto and was signed into law by Governor Christie, will allow access to critical family medical histories and adoptee birth certificates.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my work in Trenton on behalf of our community. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns.