FAIRFIELD, Calif. — The American Veterans (AMVETS) of California recently named Assemblymember Mariko Yamada (D-Fairfield) as a 2011 Legislator of the Year.
The honor is awarded to legislators who have gone the extra mile to support California’s veterans and their families.
“I am honored and humbled to receive this award from the veterans of California,” Yamada said on Wednesday. “Thank you for this recognition, but the true thanks must go to all current and past service men and women who have placed themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedoms. Be sure to observe Veterans Day on Friday by thanking those who have served.”
AMVETS selected one member each from the Assembly and Senate. The Senate honoree is Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana). Both Yamada and Correa were awarded for their long-standing support of veterans, service members, and their families during their legislative careers, as well as their leadership on the Veterans Affairs Committees of their respective houses.
Yamada has championed veterans’ causes since she began her public service in local government. In the Legislature she has served on the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs since 2009, continuing her commitment to address the issues facing young veterans returning home from current wars. As the chair of the Aging and Long-Term Care Committee, she examines the complex needs of the World War II, Korea, and Vietnam generation of veterans.
In 2011, she authored AB 784, which sought inclusion of adult day services for two adult day facilities co-located with the William J. “Pete” Knight Veterans Home of California in Lancaster and the Veterans Home of California in Ventura. She also sponsored ACR 158 in 2010, observing May as Women Veterans Recognition Month.
In the community, Yamada has hosted two veterans’ forums, with two more planned for the upcoming year. These forums allow veterans to learn about and apply for state and federal benefits earned through their military service. She was scheduled to speak at Veterans Day ceremonies in Woodland and West Sacramento on Friday.
AMVETS Department Legislative Chair Lorraine Pass stated, “Assemblywoman Yamada understands our issues and is not afraid to spend the extra time it takes to dig down into a complex issue like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or women veterans. She is a great asset to the veterans committee.”
Yamada and Correa will be presented the awards at the AMVETS’ annual Capitol Legislative Day event on Feb. 29, 2012.
AMVETS was formed in 1944 to help World War II veterans obtain the benefits promised to them by the federal government. It continues this commitment to America’s veterans, their families, and the active military by assisting them to secure their earned entitlements. AMVETS, Department of California, has approximately 10,000 members and over 50 local posts. It strongly supports legislation to provide extended care services to veterans, which will improve the needs of an aging veteran population as well as the new generation of veterans.