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Veterans laud McNerney efforts on their behalf

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Veterans laud McNerney efforts on their behalf

Al Alexander stops for a brief chat during a visit by Congressman Jerry McNerney at the Lathrop Senior Center Monday afternoon. McNerney – who was reelected in November for a fourth term – picked u...


POSTED April 24, 2013 2:23 a.m.

LATHROP – The war wounds that Al Alexander suffered during the 13 months that he spent in Korea still plague him to this day.

One hundred percent disability according to the Veterans Administration.

So when he had the chance to talk to his congressman Monday about the care that he gets from his local clinic – a congressman revered among local veterans for the work that he has done to bring quality health care to San Joaquin County – he made the most of it. 

With a throng of fellow Lathrop seniors crowding around, Alexander – a one-time Lathrop Water Board member and San Joaquin County Sherriff’s Department retiree – took his time to say thank-you for everything he’s done and urged him to continue to do everything in his power to bring the 100-plus bed facility to the vacant lot next door.

“I’m grateful for the all the work that he’s done for the veterans here,” Alexander said after bidding him adieu. “He’s done more for us than most and he’s still trying. It’s a privilege for me – I’m honored.

“It’s not every day that you get to shake the hand of your congressman.”

Monday’s visit to the Lathrop Senior Center was part of a citywide tour organized by Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal to give McNerney – who was reelected to a fourth consecutive term back in November – a sense of the community that he represents.

But it wasn’t without a little bit of lobbying.

Part of the San Joaquin Council of Government One Voice trips back to Washington, D.C., to campaign for federal dollars, Dhaliwal said that he was making a push to get the streets of Old Town Lathrop fitted with curbs, gutters and sidewalks so that area residents have a safe walking path and kids have someplace to walk on their way to school.

“Over the years I’ve developed a good relationship with elected officials on the local, state and federal level and this is a chance to get Congressman McNerney familiar with Lathrop and what it has to offer,” Dhaliwal said. “I’m also hoping to show him 5th, 6th and 7th Streets and show him the need that we have to put in sidewalks in that part of town. This is a good opportunity to do just that.”

Prior to the last election McNerney’s district included swaths of Alameda, Contra Costa and San Joaquin counties – including Lathrop and Manteca.

After the 2010 census forced a realignment by an independent commission, Manteca ended up getting split into a district that was inherited by Turlock Republican Jeff Denham. McNerney retained Lathrop, and the focal point of his district became Stockton.

He said he looked forward to events like the one Monday because of the chance it affords to hear from veterans like Alexander.

“I really like getting out into the communities because of things like what we just saw – if a veteran has a problem, I get to know about it and put him in touch with the person that can actually make a difference,” he said. “The more in tune I am with the needs and challenges of the people the more effective I can be in congress.”

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