Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, the Republican and Conservative Party candidate for Congress in the New York’s 11th District (Staten Island-Southwestern Brooklyn) announced the endorsement of the National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition at a Sunday afternoon news conference held as part of Veterans for Malliotakis Day of Action. Following the news conference the assembled veterans headed-out for door to door campaigning and literature distribution.

Also speaking at the news conference was Lee Covino, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam and who has spent his career counseling and advocating for his fellow veterans and served from 1990-2014 as the Staten Island Borough President’s Veterans Affairs Advisor and from 2002-2015 as a member of the City of New York’s Veterans Advisory Board, including a stint as its vice-Chairman.

The National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition consists of a variety veterans organizations and advocacy groups representing over 250,000 veterans along with their families, friends and supporters.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis said, “I’m honored to be standing with so many patriotic Americans who defended and supported our nation and its people through their military service and continue that service today by remaining active in a variety of veterans’ organization.

“The U.S. military is known for being the best trained and equipped fighting force in the world. Sadly, after leaving the military, the care and respect many our veterans get doesn’t match-up to those standards. That’s why during my five terms in New York State Assembly, I’ve always supported legislation that is important to those who have served. That’s why you’ll find my name listed as sponsor or co-sponsor on over a dozen bills that have been signed into law and that directly affect the well-being of our state’s veterans. These bills have included everything from increasing veterans’ real property tax exemption from $5,000-$7,500 to the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act which aids disabled veterans in creating a business they can call their own.

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition and am proud to share its beliefs on numerous issues including a strong national defense, support for the War on Terror and the proper care, treatment and recognition of members of our armed forces and our veterans.”

Veteran’s advocate Lee Covino said, “For nearly 50 years I have either been counseling or advocating on behalf of our veterans. Over that time, I’ve interacted with numerous elected officials. Some are fair weather friends and some fight for us day- in and day-out. Nicole Malliotakis is one of those fighters who you can always count on to stand with our veterans.

“She’s proved that over the past decade by always supporting laws and policies that benefit our veterans and a willingness to listen and respond whenever we’ve asked for help. I know she’ll fight for us just as hard when she’s elected to congress and that’s why I’m proud to stand with her today.”

Also at the event were Vietnam veteran Gene DiGiacomo spoke about the need to elect people, like Assemblywoman Malliotakis, who are fighting to stop socialism and Great Kills resident Kevin Collins, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, who spoke about the Assemblywoman’s work helping her community in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Malliotakis was also joined by 95 year-old WWII Veteran Isadore “Teddy” Bertone, who was named Honorary Chairman of the Veterans for Nicole. Malliotakis recently helped Bertone obtain his citizenship papers and take his oath of citizenship.