What do small businesses and veterans have in common? One answer, as defined by U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado, D-19, last week, is translating their needs into policy in Congress. Another answer is Delgado himself, who can help as a member of the Small Business and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.
One thing roiling small businesses in Greene and Columbia county is transporting goods from the warehouse to the shop, a product of a tractor-trailer driver shortage across the nation. Voters overwhelmingly want a change in the law governing the age of truck drivers, according to Delgado.
More than 80 percent of Americans support a bill that would change the federal highway law to allow younger drivers to transport commerce between states, according to the International Food Service Distributors Association. Drivers between 18 and 20 are eligible to obtain commercial drivers’ licenses, but they are prohibited from driving across state lines until they’re 21, under federal rules.
Veterans worry about where they can go to get help for problems ranging from housing to job opportunities, and recreation to vocational training. Delgado last week hosted his first Veterans Resource Fair following former U.S. Rep. John Faso, who hosted several local fairs in his two years on Capitol Hill.
Delgado introduced the Military Spouse Hiring Act to provide incentives for employers to hire the husbands and wives of armed forces members. The fair brought representatives of numerous veteran-related organizations to Columbia-Greene Community College offering athletic programs for disabled veterans, a program centered around one year of education about farming and finding housing for homeless veterans to bring structure into their lives.
Launching these programs, some backed by legislation, is a chance for fairer, more productive treatment of veterans and local small businesses each day. The programs are good for small businesses, veterans and the public.