Tedra Cobb Reports on Veterans Roundtable in North Country
November 10, 2017, Canton, NY: On Wednesday evening, local businesswoman and former St. Lawrence County Legislator, Tedra Cobb, held a roundtable discussion with veterans to hear first-hand about the experiences they face transitioning to civilian life. Cobb is the leading Democratic candidate for New York’s 21st Congressional District.
“This discussion highlighted a lost opportunity in this region, particularly when it comes to opportunities to employ qualified, driven individuals,” Cobb stated after the event, “in Congress, I will support the building of an economy that recognizes the value of veterans in the work force.”
This roundtable was the second such meeting Cobb has had with veterans. While the first focused on struggles veterans face accessing health care and services, this discussion centered on educational opportunities in the region and challenges veterans face when seeking employment in the civilian
workforce. These roundtables are examples of the conversations Cobb is having with many different constituent groups aimed at learning how a broken Congress has impacted the lives of people across the North Country.
Patrick Massaro, II, who served as a military police officer in the Marine Corps for 11 years and is the Director of Military & Veteran Student Services at SUNY Canton and SUNY Potsdam, stated, “Without further economic development and employment opportunities we’ll continue to see veterans leaving the area.” Veterans have skills that make them good employees, explained Abrahm DiMarco, a retired Army officer and Potsdam resident, “Most people don’t understand or appreciate the responsibility the military gives to folks.”
The roundtable participants explained that many young veterans take advantage of GI bill benefits to get a degree after leaving the military. Veterans at local universities are earning degrees in education, nursing, business, and criminal justice, while others are seeking certifications in career skills programs such as Solar Ready.
Cobb is planning a third round table in the Watertown area with local veterans to discuss building a stronger economy that provides good jobs to keep these community members in the district, as well as learn more about the challenges many veterans face accessing health care and benefits.
“One step toward working on the issue of veteran employment in the North Country is to revive the workforce development group that met before Elise Stefanik took office. If these meetings could bring veterans to the table with business leaders across the district, it becomes possible to capitalize on the opportunities veterans bring to our communities. As a representative of NY-21, I would make reviving these conversations a priority,” Cobb stated after the event.