We are watching the Rhode Island Senate race closely here at Kmareka. One thing that I notice, and I’ve commented on it before, is that Whitehouse is doing the better job of listening to real people when it comes to health care and the new prescription drug plan. Here is the latest entry from his blog:
After every community dinner weâ€™ve held, Iâ€™ve come away with many different feelings. Iâ€™m always happy to have met so many Rhode Islanders, and excited to have heard their stories and their thoughts. But last night, after our community dinner at the Portuguese Social Club in Pawtucket, I also felt angry â€“ because nearly every story I heard came from good people, who have worked hard and paid their dues, but today are struggling with the high cost of health care and its impact on their lives.
I was honored to have Olavo Amado with us last night. Olavo is a small business owner and veteran who gave 24 years of service to our country in the armed services, and he told us that though heâ€™d always had health coverage as a soldier, today he canâ€™t afford to buy health insurance for his business. In the greatest country in the world, itâ€™s shameful that something so critical as health care is unaffordable for hard-working people like him.
Others had similar stories. I heard from people who are disabled, who are themselves veterans, or who just have a hard time getting by â€“ who canâ€™t afford the health care they need.
I left last night frustrated and angry â€“ but with an even stronger commitment to roll up my sleeves and get to work for the hard-working men and women of Pawtucket. The Republicans in Congress and the Bush administration might not be listening to them. But I am, and Iâ€™ll fight to make sure their voices are heard.
For the view from another leading candidate, you can read through Laffey’s powerpoint presentation, “The High Cost of Prescription Drugs.” Like Whitehouse, Laffey supports a plan for Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices. His plan is less specific about what to do with the current Medicare plan problems. He also recommends doing away with “me too” drugs and increasing regulatory powers for the FDA so that drug companies have to give more information about drug side effects in their advertisements.
Matt Brown’s campaign is focusing on the Iraq war right now. That’s another extremely important issue. Brown’s focus, though, seems to be primarily on having a debate about the issue, which sends the message to me that he is more concerned about debating his primary opponent than he is about addressing the concrete issues of the people of Rhode Island.
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to say here and now that I attended a Whitehouse fundraiser in September of 2005. I’m not a big fundraiser attendee, but the invitation was offered to me free of charge, and I thought it would be interesting to meet Sheldon Whitehouse, which it was. In this way, I feel that I attended more as a member of “the press,” if blogs can now be included in “the press.”
I should also say that as a clinical social worker, my bias is probably going to be toward a candidate who is actively listening to real people and sharing these stories with the public. That strategy is most closely aligned with the way social work functions to address a problem.
But this blog welcomes people from all political perspectives. We are a liberal blog, yes, but we are here to help the public gain relevant information about the candidates and make informed decisions. I will leave the political advocating for one candidate or another to those who wish to comment.