Get to the point!
On the evening that I went out door knocking with Deb Lavender, she did that. She introduced herself and told each person that, as a physical therapist who owns a business in Kirkwood, she is passionate about health care. She is also passionate about having members of both parties sit down at the table together and work on solutions without all the bickering.
One man asked her what she could do as a state rep to ease the health care crisis in Missouri. Her answer was a solution I’d not heard of. She told him that she wanted Missourians to have the right to knock on Medicare’s door and ask for a premium. She told him that Medicare’s rates are far lower than Anthem’s, the company where he gets his insurance, because Medicare operates with 5 percent overhead, whereas Anthem and other private insurers operate with 40 percent overhead. Anthem’s rates would fall if people had the option of going with Medicare.
Deb wasn’t sure that such a plan could be enacted, but even if that didn’t work out, she’d at least aim to get vets on Medicare if they want that coverage.
None of the people we talked to that evening questioned her about her second passion, establishing bipartisan cooperation. But I did. As we drove back to the office, I played devil’s advocate and pointed out that bipartisan cooperation isn’t feasible when Republicans are so bent on having it: my way or the highway. Their motives are mainly greedy, I said, and finding consensus between legislators who want a level playing field for ordinary people and those who want to enrich the wealthy doesn’t work.
Deb didn’t dispute that. In fact, she added that they’ve punished Democrats for the sin of being Democrats by taking the parking assignments of Dem leaders and giving them to junior Republican legislators. Same with office space. Deb told me that one Democratic legislator spent an entire summer attending workshops to learn more about the topic of a subcommittee she was to sit on. Then the Republicans, for no good reason, removed her from that subcommittee.
So it isn’t as if Deb is naive about Republicans. But she does believe that when Democrats retake the power, they will be tempted to exact some payback for all that gratuitous meanness. Bad idea. And Deb would push for as much comity as possible.
So, let’s see, the mostly socially moderate voters of Kirkwood have a choice between pro-voucher, pro-death penalty, pro-abstinence-only sex ed, anti-choice, anti-cure Republican Rick Stream or a concerned, compassionate, sensible Democrat in the person of Deb Lavender. That should be a no-brainer. All she has to do is knock on 12,000 doors before November 4th and show them the difference. That’s all.
That would require hitting 500 doors a week, and–hint, hint–she could sure use more help achieving that.