Friday, February 25, 2011
Former Majority Floor Leader, Michigan Democrat Kathy Angerer, early in her career as a State Representative, was contacted by a group of parents in her community whose children had been impacted by Autism. After digging into the issue, she found the problem was that insurance companies who paid for Speech Therapy services for children could exclude children with autism. When Kathy learned all of the information, she went to work to change that injustice. She studied the issues. She met with stakeholders. She had legislation drawn up. She then held committee hearings, informed legislators, had parents and even autistic children themselves testify in Health Policy committee. The bills she had introduced to remedy the situation passed out of committee and through the full House and on to the Senate.
Then Senate majority leader, Senator Mike Bishop, looked her right in the eye and promised her he would bring the bill up for a vote if she did A, B, C, and D. But she had to wait until the very last day of session. So Kathy again went to work. She jumped through the hoops he laid out. She lined up her votes in the Senate. She once again had hearings, this time in the Senate committee. Parents and students once again testified. It passed through the committee, ready to be brought up for a vote on the Senate floor. She waited patiently for the last day of session, because she believed the Republican Senator's promise. But guess what happened. On the last day, when there were no more options left, Senator Bishop changed his mind. The bill was not brought up for a vote. It died. Autisitc children and their parents were brushed aside by the "pro family" Senate Republicans. And to this day, the speech therapy services that are vital to their development can be denied by insurance companies.
That is why Democrats cannot work with Republicans.
Now we have Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin. He loudly proclaims and brags about the fact that he will not compromise. He won't negotiate. And when he thought he was talking to billionaire David Koch, he further revealed his true self. He is on tape expounding about a plan to trick the Wisconsin Senate Dems back to the State Capital. His plan is right there on the tape. He even considered adding people into the protests that would "stir things up", which could have led to violence.
It is interesting to note he has refused to return the calls of legislators elected by the people. But when he thought it was David Koch on the phone, he had a good twenty minutes to devote to the discussion. Seems like he feels more indebted to billionaire David Koch than his own constituents.
Governor Scott Walker has now revealed who he is. It is now perfectly clear he is not working for the people of Wisconsin. It is time for him to resign. And it is time for Republicans to call for his resignation.
When Chicago's Governor Blagojvich's corruption was revealed, Democrats joined Republicans to impeach him. Now Gov. Walker has proclaimed that he will not compromise. He will not negotiate. He will try to trick the duly-elected State Senators. He would consider adding an element of violence to peaceful protests. He won't talk to legislators elected by the people, but he will spend twenty minutes talking to a billionaire who helped fund his campaign. It is time for Republicans to step up and demand that he resign.
Maybe then the country can return to honestly working together to make decisions which will solve our difficult problems fairly and reasonably. That's what we hire our leaders to do. Let's insist on them doing it.