Larry Westerlund's Final Day before Deployment

May 15, 2008 8:38:30 PM PDT
Just two weeks before election day Fresno City Councilmember Larry Westerlund is headed to duty overseas.The navy reservist received his marching orders two months ago as he prepares to leave Friday he wants his constituents to know his work in district four is not over.

Dora: "My first reaction is are you sure you have to go?"

The answer was yes, Councilman Larry Westerlund was recalled to active duty by the U.S. Navy two months ago. While glad to serve, he says the timing was not ideal.

Larry Westerlund: "I joined the navy years ago to do my duty to protect and defend this country but the ambivalence was I'd just been married five months, well at the time was three months."

Leaving his wife Dora will be the toughest part of his deployment, the couple married in Mazatlan, Mexico just last December but Westerland is also disappointed to not be able to personally complete some of the projects he was working on for district four.

"Working on the revitalization of the neighborhoods in dist. Four. Working real hard to get money for the resurfacing of streets that haven't had stuff in 40 years."

Westerland's 12-month tour means he'll miss the last six months of his current term. If he's re-elected, he'll also be gone the first 6 months of his new four-year term.

"My wife and I have been out walking and talking to folks in the district and they are very, very supportive."

Attorney Paul Caprioglio will serve as interim councilmember in Westerlands absence.

"He has been very enthusiastic about carrying on the work that I've been doing he is going to have my staff, that is going to remain his staff."

And his wife will continue walking precincts for the next 18 days until the June election.

Dora Westerlund: "Getting the word out there that my husband is running for re-election that his name is on the ballot."

Westerlund, who has served in the Persian Gulf, Korea and Bosnia, has not been told where he'll be stationed only that he will be serving as a support officer for special operations forces, in either Afghanistan or Iraq.

"I'm looking forward to the day that he comes back, and that's what keeps me going and that keeps me positive on the things that I need to make sure to do for Larry."

Westerlund will be campaigning until the last minute he and his wife Dora are walking precincts Thursday night before he heads out to Sacramento Friday morning.


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