Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Dec 18th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Santa Cruz Town Hall

SamFarrNewWhat did you take away from the town hall meetings with your constituents this summer? What are you taking back to Washington in terms of their views on health care reform?

What we don’t lack in this debate is passion, on either side of the issue.

I’ve hosted seven town halls this summer and spoken to nearly 4,000 people. My office has received more than 7,000 calls, letters and e-mails. I rank this near the top of controversial issues during my 16 years in Congress, and with good reason. Comprehensive reform of our health care system pre-dates all of us. Our nation has seen several movements to overhaul health care in the last 100 years, but each time opponents have mustered support to put a stop to change.

What I’ve heard over and over again this summer—from  both supporters and opponents alike—is  that our system is broken. We may disagree on how to fix it, but we agree that it needs to be reformed. I agree with President Barack Obama when he said recently that we agree on a lot more than we disagree on.

There’s wide consensus in Congress and throughout the nation that insurance companies shouldn’t be allowed to deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions or cancel insurance when we get sick. There’s also agreement that our system simply costs too much and that we need to look at tools to lower cost. Everyone agrees that defensive medicine—when  doctors order too many tests to defend against malpractice charges—is out of hand. President Obama rightfully said he will look at ways to reform our legal system to restrain those costs. And there’s broad accord that tens of thousands of American families shouldn’t be forced into bankruptcy each year due to medical costs. So that leaves us with a handful of legitimate disagreements (which are currently being negotiated) and far too many myths and misconceptions. The president did a good job addressing many of the mistaken beliefs about what this bill would do, and I’ve done the same in my town halls. I hope we’ve able to clear up as many problems as possible. Let me leave you with one last set of numbers: as of last week, I have responded to exactly 7,300 calls, e-mails and letters about health care. Of that total, 6,734 residents of the Central Coast have supported reforming our system, while 566 have opposed reform. I think those numbers speak for themselves.

I see broad support across Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties for reform, and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks as Congress moves closer to final legislation.

Compared to the previous administration, where does the Obama administration stand on child nutrition, and how are they poised to help enact change in that area?

I think what we’re seeing in Washington regarding child nutrition programs, and child well-being in general, is a complete rethink of how we promote healthy lifestyles.

It started back in February with the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Just two weeks after his inauguration, President Obama signed legislation that expanded health coverage to 11 million children. After being twice vetoed by the previous administration, this showed that President Obama is taking child well-being seriously.

The current debate on health care reform also points us in the right direction. We’re seeing a lot more attention being given to preventive health care. It may seem like a no-brainer, but taking active steps to keep Americans healthy isn’t our health industry’s top priority. Only when we devote more resources to preventing illness will we see the kinds of advances our country deserves. I also believe the administration’s focus on fruits and vegetables is terribly important. During hearings before the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, of which I am a member, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack repeatedly said we must shift more funds to providing fruits and vegetables to our children. Studies consistently show our children are eating only about half of the fruits and vegetables they should. We need to put our money where our children’s mouths are and put more fruits and vegetables into our school cafeterias. I look forward to moving that debate forward when I introduce the Children’s Fruit and Vegetable Act this month. With role models like the president and first lady in the White House and a Cabinet that truly believes healthy children should be a top priority, I think we’ll see some very important advances out of Washington this year.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire