Protesters: Vote ‘no’ on health reform

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – “Vote no” was the message to U.S. Rep. Travis Childers on Tuesday from more than 100 opponents of President Obama’s health care plan.
The reform proposal is expected for a vote in the U.S. House perhaps as early as Friday.
“I think it will ruin us,” said 78-year-old Glen Alexander of Tupelo, standing in the cold and wind with the others outside Childers’ office downtown across from City Hall. “I think it will increase my out-of-pocket medical costs and increase our taxes.”
Childers hasn’t said how he will vote, although he voted against another health care reform proposal last year.
The rally was organized by Grant Sowell and the local tea party, which supports conservative fiscal policies and opposes greater government intrusion. He stood on the building’s central stairwell and urged participants to make their protest a “peaceful assembly.”
He also promoted three upcoming tea party events, including an April 3 Tupelo stop for the national Tea Party Express and an April 17 statewide event in Jackson.
Mack Turner Sr. of Tupelo stood out in the crowd as the only black person there. He also appeared to be the only one in favor of health care reform.
“This is a distraction,” Turner termed the event. The community organizer, who operates United Brothers & Sisters, said he works with homeless people and that health care reform is needed.
Rally participants milled in and out of the 1st District office, chatting with the receptionist and warming themselves from the wintry chill.
Outside, Ed Holliday prayed for God to “put into your hands the members of Congress … to let them know how this country needs to go.”
Petitions were passed around to document for Childers the names of people who attended and urge him to vote no again, when the health care bill comes up.
Casee Becker, 21, of Tupelo held her 2-year-old daughter, Chloee, and said she was there to object to “this socialism.”
“I’m sick of Pelosi,” she said about the Democratic speaker of the House from California. “I’m hoping this rally will help stop them from doing this.”
Becker said she supports some aspects of health reform, but “just not this way.”
Mary Jane Vaughan, 65, of Tupelo and Edward Byrd, 80, of New Albany also agreed the Obama plan isn’t what they want.
Vaughan’s message to Childers: “People in this district want him to vote no.”

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.