On Tuesday, Sept. 27, California Gov. Gavin Newson gave his signature of approval to the Orange County veterans cemetery bill — AB1595. With Newsom’s approval, local veterans groups celebrated another victorious milestone in their decades-long mission to bring a dedicated resting place to Orange County for thousands of local veterans.

Nick Berardino, a Vietnam veteran and president of Veterans Alliance of Orange County (VALOR), spoke to Irvine Weekly via phone, emphasizing that the governor’s approval underscores the accomplishments fought with bi-partisan efforts.

“Today’s signing by the governor marks a great day for Veterans in Orange County and throughout the nation. We have demonstrated here that if we can come together regardless of partisanship, as Americans, we can get things done,” Berardino said. “I hope this can be a harbinger for future non-partisan accomplishments in our country.”

As one of the authors of AB1595, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva said the governor’s approval is a notable achievement for so many veterans, their families and legislators that have helped support their vision.

“I have fought alongside veterans, local leaders, community advocates and my legislative colleagues in support of a Southern California veterans cemetery site in my district since 2014. With Governor Newsom’s signage of AB1595, the last piece has fallen into place for the authorization of this much-needed and long-awaited final resting place in Orange County for the men and women who courageously served our nation in the armed forces,” she said.

Quirk-Silva continued:

“I am extremely proud of the work that we have done over the years to fulfill the promise made to our veterans and their families. This effort shows what a broad, bipartisan coalition can do on behalf of their community when we work together. While this is a major victory in moving the project forward, there is still much work to be done. I look forward to future collaborative efforts necessary to help make our veteran community’s dream a reality.”

While this may be the final piece of legislative approval, the County of Orange will move forward with a focus on a site in Gypsum Canyon near Anaheim Hills. The future potential site received $20 million in support from the Orange County Board of Supervisors earlier this year.

While there is no specific site mentioned, language within AB1595 states that the California Department of Veterans Affairs will have to perform acquisition and feasibility studies on two potential sites, Quirk-Silva said.

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