The Contra Costa Times covered Congressman Jerry McNerney's second Listening Tour session with veterans and military families on Saturday -- this time in Pleasanton.
And the veterans there were just as concerned about access to the Livermore VA nursing home, which the Veterans Affairs administration is considering closing:
One option would be to move outpatient, nursing home and other services to San Joaquin County. Pleasanton resident Eugene Walls told McNerney that many Tri-Valley veterans, many of whom are elderly, object to such a move because it would require them to travel farther for care.
"It would put a hardship on me," the 62-year-old veteran said. "I'm still fairly young, but I don't get around so well."
McNerney replied that he is opposed to moving services out of the Tri-Valley area. "In fact, I think we need to expand the Livermore VA facility," McNerney said. "There's no reason we can't have a facility here and in the (San Joaquin) Valley."
In an interview after the forum, the freshman congressman said he would use his position on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs to fight for the Livermore facility.
"I'm going to make it clear to the VA that it's unacceptable to close the facility," McNerney said. "They should listen. Congress controls the money."
One thing is clear -- veterans in both the western and eastern portions of the district feel strongly that VA facilities should serve both areas. After listening to impassioned comments from veteran after veteran in both Stockton and Pleasanton, Congressman McNerney intends to do everything in his power to make sure the needs of these veterans are met.