With representatives from both Senators and Congressman Heinrich’s organization along with unions this evenings meeting was a little on the hot side. The topic was healthcare and around forty democrats showed up to the meeting. Not bad considering that it was moved from the law school last minute.
The message was clear we want a public option and we are going to voice our views on the matter. Don’t talk down to the voting public because we are not dumb or uneducated on this issue.
The only representative that did not take heat on this issue was Senator Tom Udall who is a junior senator and from a solid progressive family. The voting public has complete trust in our junior senator from the north. Not a man who has ever said anything to give the voters one minute of concern.
On the other hand the representative speaking for Senator Bingaman took a great deal of heat for views that Senator Bingaman is backing down on the senate finance committee to republicans. The representative put out that he is only backing down to get the bill out of committee and once it is out he will stand up from removing the co-op from the bill and adding the public option back into the bill. Nice to know but trust is hard to come by at this point in time and voters would prefer an honest attempt to support the public option even if he losses in committee and the bill comes out with a co-op. Voters do not like game playing when it comes to their healthcare. We want honest representation on this issue.
They also feel that their senior senator should provide the example of what the party stands for and not be supporting anything that is not supported by the voters in our party. Message to the senator we won the election!
The unions were clear that co-ops have failed in the past or been changed over to business models and that this is not the way to fix healthcare and that their members would stand firmly against co-ops and taxing of their healthcare benefits. Too many of these families can not afford mandatory healthcare if the price is not driven down by a public option.
Many in the meeting noted that if these elected officials wanted to be reelected in the future that they had better deliver or at least fight for the public option because if like Senator Bingaman they are seen as backing down on this core party principle no one will support them for an elected job in this state now or ever. Want to talk about grabbing hold of the third rail and holding on for dear life. Senator Bingaman's representative appears to think that he is allowed to do anything he wants and the senator will still be reelected by the voting public. Really! it would appear he wants to put that to the test.
I asked if Congressman Heinrich plans on joining progressives in the house in support of the public option at all cost but his representative said that he was unwilling to make that public until it came down to the vote. Understandable in a city where half of his voters are conservative democrats. The Progressive Democrats know where the congressman’s heart lies on this issue and trust that if it gets that far he will cast a vote in the right direction.
The message was clear better no mandatory reform bill then one that working class families cannot afford.
Postcards were sent to all of the representatives from active members of the party this evening which will be delivered to their office in the near future.
Some of the voters talked to Senator Bingaman's representative after the meeting. They want to support him they just want him to give them a reason to trust that he will do the right thing when it comes down to drawing a line in the sand.