The 33rd dems turned out in force to show their support for the Public Option at Congressman Adam Smith’s town hall meeting in Lakewood yesterday, with more than 20 members at least. Congressman Smith had moved the meeting to Harry Lang Stadium to accommodate the nearly 2500 people his office estimated showed up.
For the most part, the crowd participating behaved in a mature, adult fashion, with only a little heckling and shouting here and there. Congressman Smith did an admirable job of maintaining control, allowing the crowd time to cheer and boo as they wished. Only a couple of times did events threaten to get out of control, as when some idiot chose to walk along the lower part of the stadium seats with a sign of President Obama dressed with a Hitler mustache. And though we in the 33rd don’t condone violence against another as they exercise their right to free speech, there were those who could not allow such insults to pass without response. The man’s sign was taken away from him, crumpled, and thrown on the ground, and a couple of members said they saw that he was knocked down briefly in the process. He wasn’t hurt, because he walked away.
It seemed that the vast majority of the people present were in favor of a public option of some kind. The minority who were opposed were vocal, though, and for some reason, they were chosen out of the crowd more often to speak. Congressman Smith had two members of his staff wandering the crowd with microphones and picking out people to ask questions. Seeing as how at least half of the crowd carried signs of some sort (most in favor of the public option), we don’t imagine it would have been hard to determine who was on what side. No 33rd members were called upon to ask a question, though several had their hands up for over an hour.
Interestingly enough, some of the attendees reminded everyone that most all of the concerns that were raised last night, and had been raised throughout the health care reform debate, had been brought up during the debate about Medicare. And yet Medicare was passed, and has been a successful government program (yes, for those out there that apparently don’t know that, it’s a GOVERNMENT PROGRAM).
Congressman Smith’s views on health care reform were varied. He declared that if the health care bill as it currently stands was brought to a vote, he would vote against it. He also stated that he felt that the bill as it stands held a great deal within it that did not work towards health care reform. He was against including end-of-life consultations within the bill. And he stated that he was in favor of a public option, but would not define in more detail what that actually meant for him. He also did not state whether if a bill came to the floor for a final vote that did not have a public option if he would vote against it.
Congressman Smith still needs to hear your opinions about health care reform. He needs to know what you want to see in this health care bill, and what you require of him in voting for it. We need him to know that if a final bill comes to the floor without a public option in it, he must vote against it. It is a make or break issue for the Democratic Party. Please call him and tell him that. He has said that he will listen.
Congressman Adam Smith
Tacoma Office: (253) 593-6600; 1 (888) SMITH09
Washington DC office: (202) 225-8901