New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney was at Stewart Air National Guard base Thursday to sign a document of employer support. He also spoke about his recent trip to Japan and South Korea.
Congressman Maloney, a Democrat from the 18th District, signed an official Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve.
“A lot of us who don’t wear the uniform have a role to play, that while we rely on people who make this sacrifice and who have this commitment to our country and our national security, the rest of us have a role to play, too,” Maloney says. “And whether you’re a member of Congress or running a small business where your employing someone who’s in the Guard or Reserve, you can do something to help your country just by being aware of the fact that these are folks who are gaining global perspective, who have high integrity, who are great employees, who have a real contribution to make, and their service is not at odds with the work they do for private business. It supports it.”
Colonel Howard Wagner is the wing commander at Stewart Air National Guard Base.
“And we have guardsmen who participate anywhere from an air crew member who just does, not just, but does a trip, for say, a week at a time to people like our base defense squadron or civil engineers who go away and they’re deployed for basically half a year plus with training, etcetera, they’re gone from their employer for a significant amount of time. So we need the support of the employers,” Wagner says. “And when we can get that that makes such a difference because now our members are able, they certainly want to participate, but they need to be able to and to know that their job is safe, that their employer understands the benefits that they bring and the rights that they have. So it’s a great program and we appreciate that.”
Emil Baker is area chairman for the Department of Defense ESGR program, or Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
“These folks are devoting their lives to training and to combat and to protecting the United States. They have issues every month when they go to their monthly training. They have issues with their summer training sometimes with some employers. And then, of course, upon deployment, they not only have the issue of going to deployment, retaining their job, but some adjustment period when they return from combat or from their deployment,” Baker says. “And it’s really important that the public understands the USERRA law, the law that actually mandates that people comply with this, but oftentimes the fellowships that’s offered by an employer that honors the commitment of the military folks that are inconveniencing and stopping their lives to go out and do this.”
USERRA is the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, and it established rights and responsibilities for uniformed service members and their civilian employers. Maloney joins hundreds of employers in New York that have signed an ESGR showing their support. After signing the document, Maloney talked about his recent trip to Japan and South Korea as part of a congressional delegation.
“I don’t know of a situation in the world that at this moment poses a greater threat than a potential conflict on the Korean peninsula,” Maloney says. “So I’m very interested in exactly what we’re doing and what we’re not doing and what our policy is going forward as we watch the DPRK develop a long-range nuclear capability. That should concern all of us.”
His trip comes as tensions in the region rise after the latest weapons test by the North Korean regime. The White House has been issuing stern warnings in recent days, including a visit to the demilitarized zone by Vice President Mike Pence. Again, Maloney.
“At the end of the day, this is about whether we want to live under the threat of nuclear attack by the North Korea regime here in the United States, here in the continental U.S.,” says Maloney. “And that is not a threat we faced before.”
After making his comments, Maloney then boarded a C-17 aircraft for a training mission with the 105th Airlift Wing of the Air National Guard at Stewart.