Last-minute protests held at McNerney's office

March 20, 2010 5:35:15 PM PDT
Democrats picked up one more vote from a Bay Area congressman Saturday.

Jerry McNerney announced he will support the health care legislation after reading through the entire proposal this weekend. He was on the fence, partly because he comes from one of the Bay Area's most conservative districts. District 11 includes parts of the East Bay along with the Central Valley.

Opponents of the health care reform bill protested the Congressman's decision Saturday. Their message is short and to the point. They want him to vote against the hotly-debated health care bill.

Dozens gathered in front of the congressman's Pleasanton office in a last ditch effort to bend their representative's ear, but just as the protest got underway, McNerney, who until Friday had not totally committed himself to either side of the issue made up his mind.

"I think it's a very good bill and very good package, and I'm happy to support it," he said.

"I am right now in shock, especially after just finding out that he is saying yes. And, I'm heartbroken," said Bridget Melson with the Pleasanton Tea Party.

"He is not representing me. That's why I'm here. That's why I say fire McNerney," Bill Fazakerly of Pleasanton said.

These constituents are now focusing their efforts on replacing the Democrat congressman up for re-election in November.

"We're going to fight McNerney and try to get somebody decent, a nice conservative in his seat," Melson said.

McNerney knows constituents are angry but he stands by his decision.

"If I do the right thing, I think that's the best I can do and voters will decide for themselves in November," he said.

But, those backing the bill say McNerney is not alone. They will support the congressman even if many of his own constituents do not.

"I hope the people will come to realize how courageous and valuable a vote that was and will rally behind him and support his re-election," said Dana Vinicoff with the San Francisco Organization Project.

Many voters in Dublin and Pleasanton told ABC7 they feel the same.

"The way I understand it, it'll help get the country back on track," Gary Marks said.

"I think we have to start some place. I don't think it's perfect, but I certainly think it's better than nothing," said Becky Callahan.

The health care reform vote takes place Sunday and East Bay conservatives are planning another protest in Lafayette Sunday afternoon.


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