(please scroll to bottom if you simply wish to view the one minute video)
Last Saturday our Governor, Charlie Crist, was in town for a campaign rally.
He’s running for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate. A first term Governor here, when he declared his candidacy he was considered an easy win for the primary. But now he’s got opposition and is trailing big time in the polls. Marco Rubio has emerged as the conservative favorite and Governor Crist is considering dropping out of the Republican primary and running as an independent candidate. The party is on pins and needles waiting for that decision. Politics is so much fun.
I used to work in politics – in a former life … back in the day … a long time ago. It was great fun and hard work; everything you hear about campaigns, it was. Dedicated, passionate, hard-working staffers give over their lives to a 24/7 statewide campaign. You develop a special rapport with your colleagues because you spend months together with virtually no time off, working for that one crucial day – election day. You meet important people, some with outrageous egos. I have a lot of salacious stories about my time on the campaign trail. Fortunately, none of them involved the candidates. They were both honorable men, but the potential for power attracts not only passionate staff and volunteers but some staff with passionate appetites for some of the other staff and volunteers.
But that’s not what this post is about! I felt nostalgic, and digressed just a bit. There’s a certain familiarity when I attend campaign events, but actually, I do very little of that these days.
Saturday however I did attend the rally for the Governor when he came through Jacksonville. Crist had just vetoed a controversial Florida bill that would have tied teachers’ pay to students’ test scores. It was loudly opposed by parents and teachers statewide and the Governor was under enormous pressure to sign the bill.
But he did the right thing and vetoed it. He vetoed it! And it was very cool that I was there because I met a parent and employee from my child’s school who was instrumental in helping the kids write thank you notes to the Governor for his veto. She brought the letters, and her young son, hopefully to meet the Governor and present him with the sweet notes, all of which did happen and I got it on camera. What a coincidence!
But that still isn’t why I attended the rally. I attended because I was told I’d have the chance to meet the Governor and have time for some brief questions. I have an important health insurance issue that I’m going to be grappling with for many years to come. I thought I’d be a fool to pass up perhaps my only opportunity ever to tell the Governor about our struggles with the state health insurance program we pay for. It’s a broken system and needs to be fixed, and frankly if a national health care program resembles what we have at the state level it’s not going to be a trouble-free system. Ours is fraught with problems. We pay monthly premiums that are twice what we pay for our other two children who’re enrolled in private, self-paid insurance, yet we have a very difficult time finding doctors who accept the state insurance BECAUSE THEY DO NOT PAY THEIR PROVIDERS.
I spend a lot of time on the phone.
Therefore it was gratifying to capture this moment on video as it will serve as the cornerstone to our future effort to advocate for all of us parents and children caught up in this system with similar problems. Incidentally, if you are in the Health Ease/Healthy Kids Florida insurance program, or know someone who is, and is struggling with it, please get in touch with me.
The video was filmed and edited by my colleague Nick Lulli.
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Jeannie Greenwald is a blogger, neighborhoods / 'go local' evangelist, hobbyist photographer, and degreed psychologist.