Sen. Christopher J. Connors has been named the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department of New Jersey "Legislator of the Year."
Connors was the prime sponsor of legislation that helped establish the New Jersey Veterans Hospital Task Force, of which he is a co-chair. He also serves on the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee.
“Throughout my legislative tenure, I have been privileged to have had numerous opportunities to work closely with veterans’ organizations to represent the interests of our veterans who, along with their families, have sacrificed so much to protect the freedoms we all enjoy today," Connors said in a statement issued by the District 9 legislative office. "This is important as I, along with my 9th District Legislative Colleagues, Assemblyman Brian Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove, represent a District that is home to a significant number of veterans."
The VFW praised Connors for sponsoring legislation that broadens eligibility for veterans’ benefits, establishing the VETeach Pilot Program, and mandating state reimbursement to municipalities for the cost of disabled veterans’ total property tax exemption.
He's also sponsored legislation that:
* addresses child custody and parenting time arrangement related to certain military absences;
* allows municipalities to provide free or reduced fee beach badges to fully disabled veterans;
* extends veteran’s property tax exemption to tenant shareholders in cooperatives and mutual housing corporations;
* authorizes 100 percent Disabled Veteran license plates for qualified veterans; and
* makes annual compensation paid to surviving spouses of certain blind or disabled veterans payable from date of the veteran’s death.
“It is truly an honor to receive this award from such a respected organization as the VFW, whose steadfast efforts on behalf of veterans has been well chronicled during its storied history," Connors said. "The organization and it’s dedicated membership command the respect of the public and all levels of government in its continuing efforts to improve the quality of life for veterans and their families."
According officials with the VFW, they recognized Connors with the Distinguished Service Award in 2000.
According to the legislative district office, Connors was named "Legislator of the Year" by VFW Post 6063 in 2000, and was named the "Citizen of the Year" by the Bayville VFW Post 9503 in 1999.
“Moving forward, I fully recognize that far more needs to be done to address the pressing needs of our veterans including those returning home from deployment," Connors said. "Accordingly, I will, along with Assemblyman Rumpf and Assemblywoman Gove, continue to work bipartisanly to advance veterans’ causes in our state.”