Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Tried

I wrote to my Senators and Congressman about health care, marriage civil rights, abortion, environmental concerns, and abolishing the Electoral College. I heard from Alexander about abortion and health care and from Corker about DOMA and health care. I knew they don't represent me and that we disagree on almost every issue but need to let them know my views. It puts me in their minority list, but they do need to hear from all of us even though it doesn't do any good. Theirs is the majority opinion here, so they are reflecting the views of their voters who put and keep them in office.

Here are the form letters they emailed back to me, all of which were what I expected from them. Just wanted you to know how it is with our Senators here. Not only that, but the state legislature will never vote for marriage equality in my lifetime. It will have to be federally mandated here.

Notice that Corker of the whiny voice misspelled transferable. Ha! His campaign was the dirtiest, most repulsive one I've seen in the state. A Karl Rove operative orchestrated it against Harold Ford, Jr. You've probably seen excerpts and heard about it. I cannot stand Corker.
Dear Ms. Durham,

Thank you for taking the time to contact my office about supporting a public health insurance plan option in comprehensive health care reform. Your input is important to me, and I appreciate the time you took to share your thoughts.

I strongly believe that no issue requires an innovative cure more than our country's ailing health care system. No matter whose statistics you believe, millions of Americans, including 800,000 Tennesseans, lack adequate health insurance. Beyond the chaos this causes to our health care system and the American economy, the human and emotional toll is enormous. I believe, as you do, that all Americans, regardless of medical history or preexisting conditions, deserve the opportunity to have access to high-quality health insurance coverage that is both affordable and transferrable between jobs. I also agree with you that increasing efficiency, reducing fraud, and maximizing competition between health insurance plans is the best way to achieve the best health insurance system.

I want you to know that I am meeting regularly with doctors, hospital representatives, the insurance industry, and patients like you to get a well-rounded perspective on every option available that presents a possible solution. As the Senate debates comprehensive health care reform, I assure you that I will be working with my colleagues to craft legislation with the best possible balance of choice, quality, and affordability among health insurance plans. The insight you have provided in your letter will certainly help my staff and I more effectively look in to this issue.

Thank you again for your letter. I hope you will continue to share your thoughts with me.


Bob Corker
Dear Ms. Durham,

Thank you for taking the time to contact my office regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Your input is important to me, and I appreciate the time you took to share your thoughts.

The Defense of Marriage Act, which became law in 1996, defined marriage for purposes of federal law as between one man and one woman and prevented actions in one state affecting the definition of marriage from impacting the marriage laws of any other state. The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal these provisions of DOMA, requiring that for the purposes of Federal law, a marriage will be valid if it is recognized in that state. I do believe that committed individuals should have access to certain benefits. However, I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and will not support legislation seeking to repeal DOMA.

Thank you again for your letter. I hope you will continue to share your thoughts with me.


Bob Corker
United States Senator

I told him I wasn't gay and would not be affected personally by this except to be invited to weddings and to buy wedding presents, which is a sacrifice I am willing to make.
November 17, 2009

Dear Joy,

Thanks very much for getting in touch with me and letting me know what's on your mind regarding health care reform.

Providing every American with genuine access to quality, affordable health care is one of my highest priorities as a member of the U.S. Senate. Unfortunately, the health care bills we're debating right now flunk their most important test, which is cost. These bills - including the Kennedy health care bill that I voted against in committee on July 15, 2009 - are good faith efforts to find the best way to go in the wrong direction. We have to start over to get it right.

Why do we have to start over? People at home in Tennessee, the Mayo Clinic, 1,000 local chambers of commerce and businesses, Democratic governors, and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office all basically say, "These plans have too many problems." Add all those problems up, and this is what you'd get in Tennessee:

- Dumping 300,000 low-income Tennesseans into the failed Medicaid program (known as TennCare in Tennessee), even though right now 40 percent of doctors won't see Medicaid patients. Then they're going to shift the cost to the states after about five years - the equivalent of a 5 percent to 10 percent new state income tax in Tennessee.

- Around 900,000 Tennesseans could be affected by proposed cuts to Medicare.

- Up to 1.6 million Tennessee workers could lose their employer-provided health insurance.

- As many as 2 million Tennesseans are at risk of being forced into a new government-run plan.

I believe that the era of the thousand-page bill is over. The best way to get a result on health care and other major issues facing our nation is to re-earn the trust of the American people by working step by step to begin solving the challenges facing our country. Instead of a trillion-dollar, thousand-page comprehensive health care bill centered around a government-run plan, as a first step we might allow small business pooling to reduce health care costs and increase access to affordable coverage. We could reform medical malpractice laws so runaway junk lawsuits don't continue to drive up the cost of health care. We could allow individual Americans to purchase health care across state lines like they can with their car insurance today. We could enact meaningful insurance market reforms, such as making sure that people aren't disqualified from getting health coverage because of preexisting conditions.

These are some steps we could take in the right direction, which would improve our existing health care system without adding trillions more to the national debt and dumping new debt on the states. I appreciate your taking the time to let me know where you stand on this important issue, and I'll be sure to consider your comments as health care is discussed and debated in Washington and in Tennessee.


Dear Joy,

Thanks very much for getting in touch with me and letting me know what's on your mind regarding abortion.

I am pro-life. I have a deep and abiding respect for life in all of its forms. During my time in the Senate, I have been proud to support numerous pro-life measures. For example, in May 2003 I opposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2004 that would have lifted restrictions on funding for abortions in overseas military hospitals. In April 2004, I supported the Unborn Victims of Violence Act - also known as Laci and Conner's Law - which made it a criminal offense to injure or kill a fetus during the commission of a violent crime against a pregnant woman.

In July 2006, the Senate voted 65-34 to approve the Child Custody Protection Act, which would make it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion if the intent is to circumvent a parental notification or consent statute in the state where the minor lives. I was proud to cosponsor this bill to help protect the health and safety of pregnant minors, as well as the rights of parents to be involved in the medical decisions of their minor daughters. I also cosponsored the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 to end that horrible procedure. That law was challenged in federal courts, but in April 2007 the U.S. Supreme Court did the right thing by upholding the ban.

I continue to believe that what women in crisis need most is our care and support. I support adoption as an alternative to abortion and encourage efforts to make adopting a child easier.

I'll be sure to keep your comments in mind as these issues are discussed and debated in Washington and in Tennessee.




froggy said...

Who knew you were so popular! ;-)
I remember when we learned a relative was on Jesse Helm's enemies list. We were so proud!

Joy said...

Well, you email them, they respond. Those are obviously form letters that their staff puts names on and emails. Or maybe they have computer-generated ways of doing that. Curt would know.

I have put myself on a list, though, I'm sure - the she-does-not-vote-for-us-so-to-hell-with-her list. Do you think they believe their letters will change my mind?

froggy said...

Give them a test... write about tax cuts for space aliens and see what answer you get next.
(Or what list you get on...)

#Debi said...

I think they are probably aware that their emails will not change your mind. What is refreshing, however, is to see a politician standing up for his principles in the face of overwhelming opposition. Good for Senator Alexander!

Joy said...

Overwhelming opposition in TN? I wish!

David Dust said...

Joy -

I don't know what I would do if I lived in TN and was represented by two idiots like Alexander and Corker. I admire you for taking the time to try and talk some sense into their thick skulls. But we all know that "sense" and "Republican" don't mix. Don't you know they are COMMANDED BY JEEBUS to hate gay people and oppose healthcare?!? It's in the Bible ... look it up.

I used to think it was bad growing up in PA with Republican Senators Heinz (Teresa Heinz Kerry's 1st husband) and Spector. Looking back, those two were downright progressive compared with knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers like Alexander and Corker.


#Debi said...

I was thinking more about the overwhelming opposition in Congress itself. The Democrats have more than enough votes to pass anything they want to, if they will just unify. The fact that they seem unable to do that mystifies me...

Berry Blog said...

A lot of work for form letters but I see you are on first name basis with some (lol) We are still gathering out tits together up here over the recent equal rights loss. We've just had elections too, and nobody in office right now is threatened enough to take up any causes. All eyes are on Christams break I fear, more than getting a health care law passed. Congress is complicating the issue on a higher level in order to get a snow day.

Joy said...

Yeah, Charlie, I thought that was interesting, too, how each of them greeted and signed the emails.

Kyle said...

Joy, I really appreciate you talking the time to write these letters. I wish more people would. I know it is a lot of work, but as you said they need to here from us, especially if we don't agree with them.

I just got my form letter back from Senator Judd Gregg with regard to ENDA. He has never sent me anything but a form letter in the eighteen years I have lived in NH and written to him. And I have written to him often. He often says he loves public service, I say he likes to send form letters.

David Dust said...

I like Froggy's idea ... write and tell them you support Government Run Healthcare For Marriage Gay Illegal Aliens, and see if their tiny little brains explode.


Mark in DE said...

I think its even MORE important for folks like you, whose views are not the majority, to contact your representative and express your opinions. Good for you!! And bad for them for sending out form letters.

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