Mae Flexer

State Senator

Mae Flexer

Deputy President Pro Tempore & Federal Relations Liaison

An Advocate for Us

April 24, 2018

Connecticut Veterans Applaud Flexer’s Proposal to Restore Funding for Critical Services

photo of Senator Flexer with veterans.

Dozens of veterans from across the state and the combined leadership of Connecticut’s veterans service organizations gathered at the State Capitol today to urge legislative passage of Senate Bill 289, a bill proposed by Senator Mae Flexer (D-Danielson) that would reverse planned funding cuts to the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and the Rocky Hill Veterans Home & Hospital.

Unless the legislature moves to pass Sen. Flexer’s bill, the DVA’s budget is set to be slashed by $2 million on July 1, 2018. After previous budget cuts totaling over 35 percent over the last decade, which have led to understaffing and negative impacts on the state veterans’ home and restrictions at the state veterans’ cemetery, this further cut is expected to lead to the closure of two wings of the Sgt. John L. Levitow Healthcare Center.

“Our veterans answered the call of duty to improve our lives here at home. As policymakers, we must do everything we can to ensure they too have a good quality of life when they return home to Connecticut. That’s why as chairwoman of the Veterans’ Committee, I submitted this proposal to restore $2 million to the Department of Veterans Affairs” Sen. Flexer said.

During the press conference, Sen. Flexer recalled visits to Rocky Hill as a teenager with her father, Chaplain Howard Flexer. She said those early visits instilled in her how critical the services there are to so many veterans.

“I cannot emphasize enough how critical the services at the Sgt. John L. Levitow Healthcare Center are to our veterans,” Sen. Flexer said. “We cannot allow this cut to go into affect.”

The looming DVA budget cut comes as a result of a cost-savings plan that would have converted the Levitow Healthcare Center license from a chronic disease hospital to a nursing home, which was originally expected to save $2 million. It was discovered that the licensing change would actually jeopardize millions of dollars in federal reimbursements and the plan was canceled. However, the $2 million dollar cut to the DVA budget remained.

Sen. Flexer led unanimous passage of SB 289 in the Veterans’ Committee in March. It must now be voted on in the Senate and House before it goes to the governor’s desk for his signature.

Participating organizations at today’s press conference included the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, the Connecticut Military and Veterans Coalition, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans of America, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, the Marine Corps League, Jewish War Veterans, and Franco American War Veterans. General Assembly leadership, members of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and military veterans in the General Assembly also attended.