Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-New Hartford) was in her home district Tuesday to announce her introduction of the Remember Our Local Heroes Act. The bill would give federal funding to local organizations responsible for building and maintaining memorials for fallen veterans and first responders.
“So many of these local governments have not had the resources to give the proper recognition posthumously to these people and remember them as this beautiful park is done,” said Tenney.
The park Tenney’s referring to is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Rome–the site of her announcement and a prime example of how tough local fundraising can be for memorials.
“What you see just here behind us took us 22 years to raise the money,” said Rick Falcone, the president of the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Fund. He joined Tenney as she introduced the bill, which would secure $2 million in federal funding for local organizations like Falcone’s to honor anyone from veterans to fallen firefighters and police officers.
Tenney said one crucial caveat of the bill is that local organizations will have to match the federal funding.
“We want to make sure that we have a match and some kind of buy in from our communities and from people in the private sector, to make sure that these programs have some accountability. And that's why we've added that aspect of it to the bill,” she said.
Funding would cap out at $100,000 per individual grant, but that cap raises with more local matching of funds. While the bill still has to go through the standard appropriations process, Tenney is hopeful that local organizations will start to see these funds sooner rather than later.
“I have an accelerated timeline,” said Tenney. “I'm not sure when we're going to be able to get there, but I would love to get it done before Veterans Day, if possible.”