U.S. Representative Connie Mack IV of Fort Myers is fighting a 20-year old fight his father started in Congress – the wish for a veterans hospital in Southwest Florida. Mack’s father - Connie Mack the third - fought for such a facility for the area when he was in Congress nearly two decades ago. It still hasn’t happened. The closest VA hospital is in St. Petersburg, a three-hour drive away. Mack says that doesn’t serve the more than 103,000 veterans in the region well.
“We now have the fourth largest veterans population – the 14th congressional district – in the country. So I think that merits a Veterans Hospital. You know I don’t know if we’re going to be successful but we’re going to fight hard to try to make sure that that happens because it’s a shame that we’re having our men and women who fought for this country having to travel three, three and a half hours to get the services they need. They should be able to do that right here in our community.”
Mack says he wants to bring Veterans Affairs officials to the area for a town hall meeting within the next month so they can hear about the need themselves. He urges local veterans to attend such a meeting to make a good case. Mack brought federal transportation budget officials to Lee County last month to help garner more money to expand Interstate 75 – and it worked.
Monday, 28 March 2005 01:00