One of the big things that I've been talking about with some of my fellow progressive activists here is how we like to see elected officials who stand up for what they believe in. That is why I have followed Sen. Jeff Merkley closely even though I live all the way across the country from the state he represents (Oregon). I was able to speak with Merkley on conference calls during his campaign and have been very impressed with his staff here in Washington as they get out his message. Above all else, I'm pleased that he has a history of standing up for working families. Not only does this help because it means that we have his vote in the correct column, but it means he's able to inspire his colleagues and grassroots activists which will really help pass meaningful legislation in the long run.
In a recent speech he gave on the floor of the Senate, Merkley illustrated his passion for standing up for working families yet again as he spoke about the need to come together in order to create true health care reform. The transcript is below the video, but I strongly urge you to watch him speak because you can clearly see how passionate Merkley is about this topic. It's great to see that passion in an elected official and I hope some of our statewide candidates here in Virginia pick up on it.
As we make historic progress on guaranteeing affordable, quality health care for all, there are powerful forces underway to halt this effort.
There are those that favor the status quo, and they’re working on their talking points. They’re rallying their special interests. They’re doing polls to see what phrase will most scare Americans from changing. They want to defeat this historic march towards quality, affordable health care for every single citizen.
Now, the opponents of reform, they have a health strategy. And their strategy is the status quo. And why do they like the status quo so much? Because the special interests are making so much money with the current health care system. Huge profits for insurance companies, huge profits for other health care players
Americans across the country are counting on us to work together to find a solution, to help ease the burden of health care costs on family and business budgets and create more affordable health care options. I urge my colleagues to set their partisanship aside, set aside the goal of trying to torpedo America’s future because you want to torpedo the presidency of Barack Obama.
Think about the quality of health care for our working families and what we in this chamber could do to make that quality of life far better."