Over 100 demonstrators call for health care reform in Tampa listen07/23/09 Mitch E. Perry
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With key Congressional committees set to take action on health care this week, local residents gathered in front of Senator Bill Nelson's staff offices throughout the state to deliver a letter asking the senator to consider a public health insurance option.
In Tampa, that meant lobbying in front of the federal building on Florida Avenue, just north of downtown. Approximately 100 people demonstrated there with signs and banners.
Roberta is a new Florida transplant, having just moved from Michigan a few weeks ago. She says she simply is hoping that more people get coverage under a new health care bill.
South Tampa resident Jane Gibbons is a registered nurse and a strong supporter of Barack Obama. She responded to the question as to why she thinks the Presidentâ€™s poll numbers have shrunk in recent weeks when it comes to his handling of the health care issue.
Jeanie Holton is a longtime WMNF programmer who says today marked a year since being laid off by the St. Petersburg Times. She said that the new subsidy for COBRA premiums that was included in the stimulus bill has already been helped her tremendously.
Although many in the crowd expressed some disappointment that the Senate will not vote on a health care bill before the August Congressional recess, local activist Cathy James said the month that members of Congress will be in their home districts should be viewed as an opportunity.
Stacy Sachs from Clearwater admitted that she unhappy that there wonâ€™t be a Congressional vote in the next few weeks. She admits that the legislation being proposed can be confusing, but says there is a simple way to sell it to the American public.
The demonstration was led by the Obama For America group, and similar rallies were held throughout Florida. Unlike recent rallies in Tampa held in front of Senator Nelsonâ€™s office, this event was not taken over by critics of any health care makeover.
Just a handful of opponents stood across the street from the Federal Building on Thursday.
Obama for America activists say they plan on staying active in supporting health care reform until Congress votes on it â€“ later this year.