Equal Pay Hero Lilly Ledbetter Endorses Doug Jones for U.S. Senate –
By Glynn Wilson –
WASHINGTON, D.C. — While the debate in the United States Senate goes forward on the Republican effort to repeal and perhaps replace the Affordable Care Act, people all over Capitol Hill are talking about the balance of power in Washington and wondering about the special election going on this year to replace former Senator Jeff Sessions, at least for now Trump’s attorney general. A trial balloon has been launched indicating Sessions may soon be replaced by former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani.
With all the sensational news coming out of Washington about Russian hacking and fake news, voters may not be keeping up with a special election to fill Sessions’ seat in the U.S. Senate. If you want to be involved in the direction of the state and country, people should start paying attention to this race with only three weeks to go before the first vote.
The Republican and Democratic Party primary is coming up on August 15. The winner of the Democratic primary will have to face the winner of the Republican primary, where there could be a runoff on September 26 between either Senator Luther Strange, who was appointed by Governor Robert Bentley before he was removed from office, conservative Huntsville Congressman Mo Brooks or former Judge Roy Moore. While Moore and Brooks are fighting for the tea party and the Christian Right votes, Strange is strangely being endorsed by all the mainstream corporate and chamber of commerce Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Business Council of Alabama.
While there is a long list of unknowns who have qualified for the ballot in the Democratic primary, there is one Democrat who may have a chance, Doug Jones of Birmingham, the U.S. attorney who brought the only successful prosecution of Klansmen in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, a horrific historic event that was recently brought to life in film. That is if everyone who needs to gets onboard and works to make this happen.
For his record on civil rights, Jones recently earned the endorsement of Lilly Ledbetter, a recognized champion of the rights of women.
“I want to see Doug Jones become Alabama’s next Senator,” Ledbetter said in a statement. “Doug is committed to building on the success of my own fight. Women still earn 80 cents on the dollar for the same work done by men. Doug will make equal pay for women a top priority in Washington.”
The first law passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in his first year in office in 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, named after Ms. Ledbetter from Alabama.
“She has been a fighter for equal pay for women and is a tireless advocate for change, traveling the country to urge women and minorities to claim their civil rights,” Jones said in accepting her endorsement, calling her “a true American hero.”
Jones is watching the debates in Washington over health care, and counting on women, urban progressives, African-Americans and environmentalists to show up and support getting a Democrat back in the Senate for the first time in many years, back when Howell Heflin was called “The Judge” by his fellow senators, including Tom Harkin of Iowa, who showed up on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to speak out against the Republican plan to gut healthcare and support the American Disabilities Act.
Harkin said Heflin was “the last great Senator from Alabama.”
Watch the video.
You can watch the debate on health care in the U.S. Senate on C-SPAN.
Jones has issued statements about his position on health care if he is elected to go to Washington this year.
In one statement issued as a note on Senate Facebook page, Jones talked about the politicians in Washington “hurting Americans by playing partisan politics with our Healthcare.”
Jones says he supports “quality, affordable health care for every American.”
“I realize the complexity of the issue and remain open to innovative solutions,” he said. “But I am concerned that the political climate is hurting more than helping, especially for folks living in Alabama.”
The plan passed by the House Republicans and being debated in the Senate “is a cheap political trick,” Jones says.
While the independent Congressional Budget Office estimated that the House bill would leave 23 million people without healthcare, the latest Senate version has been estimated to throw as many as 32 million out in the cold with no coverage at all.
The House bill was “negotiated behind closed doors among factions in the Republican Party without the benefit of the advice of experts and stakeholders that deliver healthcare services,” Jones said. “Now the Republican-controlled Senate is doing the exact same thing.”
He says Congress must operate with more openness and transparency.
“If we really want to make life better for Americans (and Alabamians) let’s talk about what we keep and what we change in the ACA,” Jones said.
He pledged to defend Medicare and Medicaid and work to ensure that young people can stay on their family plan.
“I will prevent discrimination against Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Jones said. “I will ensure veterans get the care and benefits they’ve earned.”
He admits that Congress must continue to take a critical look at healthcare “reform,” but he said any bill that gets his support must pass four tests:
It must recognize that all Americans deserve the right to quality, affordable healthcare.
“No American should be unable to make ends meet from out-of-control medical bills,” Jones said.
Pre-existing conditions should never be a reason to deny care or make care unaffordable.
“Preventative care should be a foundation of our health care system,” he said. “It is inefficient and dangerous for Americans to rely on the emergency room to treat preventable illness.”
While the ACA was not intended to be the final word on healthcare, he said, “the improvements should strive toward universal coverage.”
We are all shaped by our own experiences, Jones said, especially when it comes to the complications of healthcare.
“As I campaign for the Senate today, my priority is still my family,” Jones said. “My parents are now in need of more substantial care than a few years ago. We are navigating the complex world of multiple specialists, lack of capacity, and skyrocketing costs.”
He said his folks were modest, hard-working people, but their healthcare costs “are eating away their modest savings and we are working with both Medicare and Medicaid to see that they get the care they need. I truly understand firsthand the frustrations many have with our system.”
On women’s health, Jones said he outright rejects “the war on Planned Parenthood as another Washington-centered partisan game.”
“I will defend women’s access to contraception and a woman’s right to choose and fight any legislation or executive action that would allow insurance companies to discriminate against women,” Jones said.
On small businesses, Jones said if the workplace remains the primary way we are insured, “we must work to ensure that health insurance premiums don’t cripple small businesses or force them to lay off employees. In fact, we must promote policies advance our country’s entrepreneurial biotech sector.”
On the question of state or federal control, Jones comes down for a national system.
“I respect the role of the state in many areas, but our need for health care doesn’t change from state-to-state,” Jones said. “The ability to be healthy should not depend on the state in which you live.”
As a parting shot, Jones pointed to former Governor Robert Bentley for rejecting Medicaid expansion in Alabama, to the tune of turning down $1 billion a year for five years, money that university studies showed would have created more than 30,000 jobs in the state.,
“That would have helped both our people and our economy,” Jones said. “Why? Because he (Bentley) put partisan politics and his own re-election (in 2014) ahead of the interests of the people of Alabama.”
© 2017, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.