Any doubts that Mitt Romney would run as a moderate Republican were erased over the weekend when he announced Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate.
Ryan is best-known for authoring the now infamous Path to Prosperity budget that, among other things, slashes services for the poor and ends Medicare as we know it. Like Romney, he wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act , which already is helping millions of Americans who are uninsured and facing skyrocketing medical costs.
I grew up here in Austin. My parents both worked for public agencies — my Mom for the Texas Department of Human Services and my Dad for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. So my brother and I were lucky enough to always have good health care coverage through our parents. Like many boys, my brother and I were always getting scrapes and the occasional broken bone, so this was a good thing.
I remember once, when I was about 10, I stepped on a clam shell while swimming off the Deep Eddy dock in Town Lake. It had to be removed with pliers and then closed with 5 stitches. Although I was none to happy with the doctor as he was stitching me, I am sure my parents were glad that we had health coverage.
Now that I’m an adult working in the private sector as a lawyer at my own firm, I have to find my own health coverage. It’s not cheap, but I am able to afford it, and like many of you, I fight for the day when health care is available to all Texans who need it regardless of income level.
Many residents of Travis County and Texas today cannot afford it. Many in Travis County rely on Medicare for health coverage. That number is increasing very quickly. Austin is the fastest growing city in the United States of people aged 55-65, and one of the fastest for seniors over 6. So Medicare is a big deal for us.
Paul Ryan, U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz, Governor Rick Perry — what do these folks have in common? They all want to reduce our access to health care. Whether it is Perry’s reckless statement that he will refuse federal Medicaid expansion, Paul Ryan’s Medicare voucher system that will increase seniors’ health costs by $6,350 per year or Ted Cruz’s love of both of these ideas. These three Tea-Party Republicans do not represent Travis County values.
Which vision would you choose for Texas? As your Democratic County Chair, I’m a little bit biased, but I choose common sense and progressive values over right-wing extremism. Don’t you?
State Senator Kirk Watson, U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett and our local Democrats, firmly believe in taking care of children, families and our senior citizens. While the Texas Legislature slashed funding for some of our most needed social programs, our Democrats continue to seek creative solutions for continued funding to provide for health care, education and other needs of our local citizens.
Finally, I want to extend an invitation for a fun evening Wednesday (6 to 8 p.m.) at the LBJ Library. Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell will be here for a signing of his book, “A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great.” The book will be on sale, but you can also just come to listen to him talk. If you plan to come, please RSVP to Cat Chavanne at 322-0128 or email@example.com.
Travis County Democratic Party Chair