I am more excited about the candidacy of Bernie Sanders in 2016 than I have been about any candidate since Bobby Kennedy in 1968.
Bernie is within shouting distance of where I stand on every important issue, especially on health care, and he has held these positions for many years.
The first time I met Bernie Sanders was in Washington, DC, when I was speaking at a memorial service for people who died from lack of access to health care. At the time, the death toll was one every 12 minutes.
I had used that statistic in a memorial service I held in Asheville, NC, chiming a Tibetan bowl every 12 minutes to signify another death, no matter what else was happening in the service.
The NC Council of Churches heard about the service and invited me to participate in one in Raleigh. That led to an invitation to speak at a national memorial service sponsored by the National Council of Churches in Washington.
Several members of Congress attended the service, including Bernie. After I spoke, he walked over and hugged me. Just like that. It was genuine and caring.
I met him again earlier this year in Raleigh, and although I’m sure he didn’t remember me from the memorial service six years ago, he did show compassion and caring again when I asked what he would do about health care. I showed him my son’s photo and asked whether expanding access to care was a top priority, he answered passionately that every human being deserves access to quality health care. When he was done speaking, he came down from the podium, hugged me and promised once more to work on universal access to care.
- He supports a woman’s right to control her own body and has worked to keep women’s health clinics open.
- He is against the kind of free trade agreements that steal jobs from Americans and allow big business to abuse workers in other countries.
- He is against fracking and is for making those responsible for destroying the environment to clean up their messes.
- He is for making Election Day a national holiday and other measures that would expand Americans’ access to the ballot box.
- He is for improving our nation’s infrastructure using tax dollars gained from increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans and corporations.
- He is for raising the cap on Social Security taxes for wealthy Americans.
- He supports a living wage, demanding that no one who works a 40-hour week should live in poverty.
Already, he has closed the gap in New Hampshire, pulling just about even with Hillary Clinton, and while I think it’s time for a woman to be president, I also think policies are more important than gender, and Bernie is right on all the issues.
I believe he can do this if those of us who believe in him will vote in the primaries and in the general election.
Let’s do this!