Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rep. Lynn Jenkins hold Town Hall Meeting at the Dole Center, Lawrence KS

Republican Representative Lynn Jenkins of the Kansas' Second Congressional district held an open meeting yesterday at the Robert Dole Center in Lawrence Kansas. I attended as did many other concerned Lawrence citizens. Kansas Health Care for All was there in force including myself seated in the front row right behind Kansas State Senator Marci Fancisco (who is respectfully seated on the floor). I have never met a politician as in touch with the people as Marci Francisco, who I admire greatly. Marci Francisco is a Kansas Democrat from District 2. I had wished to give her my seat, but knowing that I was disabled she offered to sit on the floor in front of me. Next to me is Hilda Enouch, wearing a sign on her chest. She is a compassionate and dedicated social activist and major leader in our community and wonderful woman from the Lawrence Jewish Community Center. Hilda is a staunch supporter of the public option and the single payer system. Next to Hilda is Mary Blythe also from Kansas Health Care for all and a Lawrence voter. Next to her is Richard Heckler (cap on his head and wearing a red shirt) a very active Lawrence citizen who also took the stand at the mike to strongly support the public option and HR676, John Conyers bill for a single payer option. Next to Richard (Dickie) is Margo Gordon also a very active member of the Lawrence Community and a Kansas Health Care for All member, she is a representative of the seniors in our community and dedicated to support care for the elderly and disabled. In front of Richard Heckler, seated on the floor and next to Senator Marci Francisco is our venerable leader Dr. David Goering MD, from the Lawrence Memorial Hospital and volunteer at the local access clinic. Dr. David Goering has strong support from many doctors at our local hospital for his advocacy to see that we get universal health care coverage. Dr. David Goering MD spoke eloquently at the mike about the critical need to have appropriate discussion with family and the patient for end of life care decisions so that compassionate and appropriate care be given in accordance with a valid doctor patient relationship. Dr. David Goering MD disliked the opposition’s rhetoric to this important end of life consultation being characterized by those who oppose a public option as being a death panel. All of us in the medical community who help families through these kinds of crises know how emotional these private confidential consultations really are and how difficult the ethical questions are for those involved. Also included in the picture on the right in the front row is Attorney Vashti Winterberg JD (blue jeans, glasses and short brown hair) who has appeared on my radio show discussing the HR 676 option. In addition Dr. Elizabeth Schultz PhD (red sweater, arms crossed) from the Oread Friends Meeting (Quaker – Religious Society of Friends) is seated in the second row on the left hand side. In the front row on the left hand side is John Poertner also from Oread Friends Meeting. Out of sight on the far right was Dr. David Burress (PhD in Economics) who is President of the AAI board and represents Ad Astra Institute, Inc. which is a non profit public policy think tank to explore statewide issues related to Kansas. I serve with him on the Ad Astra board as Secretary of the Board of AAI. Dr. David Burress took the stand to discuss the statewide survey of Kansas voters that clearly shows that 65% of Kansas citizens polled would welcome a single payer system. In addition to those mentioned several dedicated students from University of Kansas and younger Kansas voters took the stand to urge Representative Lynn Jenkins to read carefully President Obama’s plan and to consider all the research data available. One gentleman who came to present the Scandinavian perspective talked about the Swedish system which is a single payer system and provides universal coverage to all.

Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins has faced a slew of bad front page headlines recently in regards to her stand on health care reform. Jenkins has even publicly admitted she failed to read the legislation she's voted on. Despite billing the town hall event as a chance to discuss health insurance reform, Rep. Jenkins spent the better part of the meeting avoiding the issue -- no doubt because she sensed the crowd was anxious to discuss the public option. The crowd made it clear that they were going to talk about health care. After 15 minutes, some audience members grew restless and spoke over Jenkins, telling her they wanted to talk about health care. "We will get there," Jenkins said, and then added that she had done 26 town hall meetings so far and had never had a group treat her with such disrespect.

"You need to be respectful to us," an audience member countered.

The health care activists made it clear when the audience was invited to come to the mike to ask questions that they wanted to know why their representative hadn’t reviewed the research findings of the WHO and other international sources of information about health care programs worldwide. Many came to the mike to inform their elected representative of her responsibility to represent her constituents.

In this meeting she finally told us that she would now read the health bills that she had previously opposed. I hope that we gave Rep. Lynn Jenkins something to think about as she returns to Washington DC to vote on upcoming Health Reform Legislation.

1 comment:

Cindy Sears said...

Thank you for this helpful contribution. Tonight I searched the web for information about the meeting that I was unable to attend. I am delighted to learn of the strong voices expressed by these wise and respected Lawrence leaders.