Last month we dodged a bullet on health care. I would like to think that even a Republican majority controlling the Congress wouldn’t pass a health care bill supported by only 17 percent of the population, especially when the Congressional Budget Office analysis showed it would take coverage back from 24 million Americans including 14 million over the next year. The bill was opposed on many fronts including the AARP and the AMA, many state Governors, and a massive citizen outpouring at town halls and protests around the nation.
We also learned that increasing numbers of Americans see health care as a right. I was heartened to read a Charles Krauthammer article noting that in the seven years since Obamacare was passed, “Obama was successful in creating the expectation of universal healthcare,” and that “the Zeitgeist of the country has changed.”
The pulling of the vote on Trump/Ryancare was obviously great news. Still, we know that quite a number of those Republican members of Congress would have voted for it, and that another reason it failed was that the bill didn’t do enough to "get the government out of health care" for the Freedom Caucus. However, let's heed DNC Vice Chair Keith Ellison’s advice not to gloat and to be ready for round two. The Republicans still control both houses of Congress and the Presidency, and there is plenty of time for them to work further on their ideas for gutting health care.
Congressman Ted Lieu
Our colleagues in the Democratic Women’s Council of Conejo Valley put on a wonderful luncheon on March 18 at Bocaccio’s in Thousand Oaks featuring Congressman Ted Lieu. He represents Congressional District 33, which covers Malibu and parts of Los Angeles and whose former incumbent was Representative Henry Waxman. The luncheon was a great event with a strong attendance and included remarks by State Senator Henry Stern and well-known Social Justice Attorney Sandra Fluke.
It is noteworthy that Congressman Lieu has been selected to join Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chair Ben Ray Lujan, as one of five new Regional Vice Chairs along with Representatives Don McEachin, Joe Kennedy, Betty McCollum, and Jared Polis. Congressman Lieu heads Region 5, which includes California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, the Marianas Islands and American Somoa. These Vice Chair positions were created by the Democratic Caucus in order to strengthen our Party’s competitiveness going into the 2018 election cycle. (As you all know, California has 53 members of Congress, of whom 14 are Republicans.)
Representative Lieu’s DCCC role includes mentoring candidates, media response, fundraising, and travelling as a surrogate. A second-term Congressman, he was elected President of the Freshman Class in the last session of Congress, and has also been selected as an Assistant Whip.
Central Committee News
Shawn Terris has decided to step down as head of the Ventura County Democratic Central Committee (VCDCC) after serving more than 18 months. John Griffin is Acting Chair, and the nominations and election of a new county Party Chair will take place at next month’s meeting. At our August 28 VCDCC meeting, the Committee voted to endorse Eric Bauman in the race to replace John Burton as Chair of the California Democratic Party. Eric Bauman has served for 16 years as Chair of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, the largest local jurisdiction of Democrats in the U.S. He is a strong and eloquent speaker for our values, and someone who has travelled to Ventura County regularly to participate in events and help us raise money for the Party locally.
We now have a vacancy on our E-Board. The incumbent of the position generally fills the role of our Corresponding Secretary, although it might be possible to switch roles around. I hope that we will be able to fill this position at our upcoming meeting.
I am glad to see the activity of Mary Lingua’s Issues and Activities committee, which appears now to be meeting twice a month, with plenty to talk about. I am also delighted that Jim Paulson is back at work registering voters in the Farmers Market.
I look forward to seeing you on April 6th at our next meeting. We will be holding our annual Scholarship Fundraiser at 6 pm, followed by our regular meeting at 6:30 pm. UCLA Distinguished History Professor (and DCC Club member) Christorpher Ehret will be our featured speaker, talking about the PBS Series “Africa’s Great Civilizations,” that he helped produce. As a special bonus, Board of Equalization Chairwoman Fiona Ma is hoping to drop by to say a few words, as long as her flight into LAX this Thursday is not delayed!