2009-03-06 / Community

Sanders Named Vets Committee Chair

By Howard Schwach

Councilman James Samders Jr. Councilman James Samders Jr. It took three years for City Councilman James Sanders Jr. to get out of the Democratic Party doghouse after he ran against the party's choice and won in 2005, but it was probably worth the wait, as he was named this week to chair the prestigious Council Veterans Committee, which comes with a $10,000 "payment in lieu of expenses," often called a "Lulu."

The Lulu is the nickname for the stipend that councilmembers get for heading committees and subcommittees or holding leadership positions.

That committee was formerly headed by Councilman Hiram Monserrate, who recently became a State Senator.

Sanders, a veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, says that he understands the challenges that many veterans face when they return home from Iraq or Afghanistan.

"With a plummeting economy and housing market, I am concerned that many of the troops will be displaced when they come home," he said. "As a veteran, I understand what veterans need. I insist that those who put their lives at risk should receive adequate services and that the nation keeps its promise to them."

Sanders said at a press conference this week that he would soon launch "Operation Outreach for Veterans Initiative" to assist veterans in housing and receiving their deserved benefits.

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