In just two years, this freshman congressman, who lives in Pleasanton, has made his mark in Washington, especially in areas of energy, transportation, education and veterans' affairs. He voted for the $700 billion bailout bill but not before insisting on heavy oversight by Congress and the inclusion of specific help for financially distressed homeowners, including thousands here in the 11th District. During the Washington deliberations, McNerney fielded hundreds of calls from his constituents and kept everyone advised on what was happening.
One of his strong suits is constituent communications. He comes home almost every weekend, and most Saturdays - and often on Sundays - he meets with folks throughout his sizeable district. On one weekend, he's with Congressman Pete Stark at a health forum; another time he's talking to seniors. Since his election 23 months ago, he has held his unique "Congress at Your Corner" at 45 places, giving everyone a chance to talk with him directly. He also started a call-in telephone program where up to 3,000 people at a time join in one telephone call to discuss their interests and concerns.
A professional energy scientist, McNerney went to Washington vowing to support alternative energy measures to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil. He's an expert on wind energy, although the recent energy bill that Congress approved provided only one-time and one-year incentives to wind energy investors. McNerney hopes next year's bill will be better. He did score a major victory, however, in winning congressional support for incentives to help solar energy developers. He also supports offshore drilling 50 to 100 miles off the coastlines where states agree and increased drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska to make continued use of drilling rigs and pipelines already in place. He's even willing to stray from a stand by Democrats and say he favors nuclear power - if we meet safety and disposal concerns with spent fuel, which he believes is a matter of cost.
McNerney also gets high marks for his efforts to keep the Livermore Veterans Hospital open, probably not as a major clinic which has been moved to Palo Alto, but certainly as an administrative facility with a plan to turn the peaceful site into a center for nurturing soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress. Just two years ago, the VA center was scheduled to close; McNerney brought the House Veterans Committee to the bucolic setting and they agreed that the Livermore center is too valuable a resource for veterans to be shut down.
In our view, McNerney is also a valuable resource - for the 11th Congressional District and the country. We urge our readers to re-elect Congressman Jerry McNerney.