A Day as an HCAO Advocate–Salem, May 13

by Pat Bitner, Eugene

Bus Coordinator and Advocate for HCAO

A very large "Thank You" to all you 34 true believers who came up to Salem on Monday to advocate for HB 2922, Affordable Health Care for All Oregon. For a lot  of us, it was a return visit after our Rally at the Capitol on Feb. 4. 

Monday began early, and earlier yet for the three HCAO activists who drove 65 miles from Florence on the coast to join our bus group in Eugene. On our way, we profited from a presentation and handout from Lou Sinniger, our Eugene group chair. Then we enjoyed the leadership of Debby McGee and Patty Hine as we sang our way north to  lyrics revised from old standards to suit the cause.  A great way to raise spirits and energy for the day ahead!

 Many are  veterans now; we know how to navigate the twists and turns of the Capitol maze.  It's automatic: we trip down the stairs to Room 50 where the important points we need when speaking to our representatives and senators are reinforced. 

 Then, the work of the day begins as we assemble for visits to our own legislators. Thanks to Ruth Duemler, appointments have been confirmed. It's upstairs to our respective representatives, and we have 15 minutes to make our case for support for HB 2922. In the office of Sen. Prozanski, my own legislator, I felt our comments were received with courtesy and attention.

The actual hearing for HB 2922 before the Oregon House Committee on Health Care began at 1 p.m, in Hearing Room E on the main floor; a capacity crowd in two overflow rooms in addition to Room E waited up to an hour to hear testimony from concerned citizens.  Comments which had been previously submitted for delivery  were overwhelming in support of the bill.  Many were impassioned and some emotional.  HCAO was represented eloquently by Jack Dresser of Springfield among others.

We were a block of red tee-shirts,  with our  logo, "Health Care is a Human Right"   emblazoned across our chests.  A day at the Capitol well spent. A lesson in the democratic process--and a fun day to boot!

If you couldn't make it, your letter or e-mail to your own representative in support of universal health care for all Oregonians will mean a great deal.