State Department of Veterans’ Affairs created

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Members of VFW Post 170 and others at the Dutchess County Veterans Day ceremony. File photo

ALBANY – The just-approved state budget creates a State Department of Veterans’ Affairs, elevating the agency from a division of government to a cabinet-level agency.

The measure was sponsored by Assemblywoman Didi Barrett (D, Hudson), who said it will provide a one-stop-shop for veterans’ services.

“The current structure of the division dates to the end of World War II and I think a lot has changed and a lot more is known and understood, and this is really an opportunity to give veterans the stature, the status, that they deserve, and we hold them in state government,” she said.

Barrett said while the appointment of a commissioner of the new department is a function of the governor, she would hope the current director, Rev. Viviana DeCohen, is named.