East-siders bring concerns to congressman and city councilman on Saturday

East San Antonio residents enjoyed coffee and conversations with elected representatives at a lively community forum on Saturday.

East-side residents filled a community center Saturday morning to share their concerns about jobs, crime, health care and more.

"Coffee with the Congressman" gave people a chance to meet with both Congressman Lloyd Doggett and District 2 City Councilman Williams "Cruz" Shaw to talk about national and local concerns.

Stephanie Zarriello said that she came after attending a block walk for peace on Friday night. Zarriello said that she believes that better times are coming even though the area has seen an increase in violent crime in recent days.

"There is huge momentum and it's rolling," Zariello said. "Everybody is just welcoming to the community and for them to hear our issues and they are now acting on everything."

Cynthia Surratt said that she is an active senior who regularly participates in community events.

"I'm old, and everything about me is for the younger generation. I think they deserve health care, I think they deserve a living wage. I think we need to save our planet. All those things.That's why I'm here," she said.

“I am here because I'm concerned about our future," said Rev. Randy Mellen is with St. Philip’s Episcopal Church on Pecan Valley. "I'm concerned about the future of social security. I'm concerned about the future of healthcare. I need to learn more about it. What can I do to help?”

Also in attendance was Dr. Kevin Downey, who leads Crosspoint, an east-side non-profit that serves veterans and people coming out of federal prison.

“We have noticed at Crosspoint that there is a lack of services for veterans,” Dr. Downey said. “We just started providing services for other-than-honorably discharged veterans, their family members, and caretakers, and we're opening up a brand new mental health center to increase capacity for those people who have mental health issues. But there is just no funding anywhere to provide the services."

Jesse Herrera said that his son is serving in the military at Camp Pendleton and he would like to see more resources for the military.

“I see the stuff that they have over there and some of the equipment that they have is pretty much outdated. And I was hoping they could give them something better than what they are dealing with right now," Herrera said. "A lot of the stuff they have is really old."

Councilman Shaw provided an update on perks related to the new city budget while Congressman Doggett connected people with staff members who can get problems solved.

To contact either representative, you can visit Congressman Doggett's official government website or Councilman Shaw's official government website.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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