Tag Archives: Affordable Care Act

CD2 Congress Candidate Yahya Yuksel Accelerating a Come-from-behind Campaign

Read: Accused Rapist Yahya Yuksel Must Drop Out Now from CD2 Race

Yahyah Yuksel, a Democratic candidate for Tucson’s CD2 Congressional Seat, plans to capture votes by emphasizing universal health care, creating jobs that pay well and building a well-educated workforce.

“We know what is right for the people. It takes people with courage, integrity and experience to get that done, and that’s what we offer,” he said at a lively open house recently.

Charismatic, intelligent and energetic, Yuksel burst onto the campaign scene in March, stole the show at a candidate forum and promptly filed 2,400 signatures to get on the ballot (only 1,274 were required).

Offering a brunch of scrambled eggs, refried beans, tortillas, salsa, and coffee, he showed off his bustling campaign headquarters at 3776 N 1st Ave. (near Roger Road) in Tucson. He is the first in the field of 7 Democratic candidates to hold an open house where voters, staff, and the candidate could freely meet and mingle. He plans to hold more.

“We have a huge office, bigger than everyone else’s office,” he said. “It’s not that we’re raising a ton more money. We’re more efficient with our money.”

Building a campaign

Yuksel knows how to build a campaign. At age 14 he founded Teen Democrats in Tucson, and organized youth groups to campaign for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid.  At age 19, Yuksel worked for Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ successful congressional campaign. Afterward, he served as the Co-Chair for Vice Mayor Karin Uhlich’s successful 2009 re-election campaign.Born and raised in Tucson, Yuksel is an attorney. He has a Masters in Chinese law from China’s top university. His heritage is Persian, Turkish and Kurdish, giving him a memorable name that is perfect for a bumper sticker. He’ll need to work fast, because the primary is on August 28 and the early mail-in ballots go out in less than 60 days. To meet the challenge Yuksel has assembled an election machine of 20 people – ranging from young interns to seasoned campaigners:

  • Kenny Jacobs came from Portland, OR, to be the Campaign Coordinator. He worked as Executive Director of the Pima County Democratic Party for the 2008 election cycle and also worked on the Obama campaign of 2008. His first federal campaign was with Jesse Jackson’s run for President in 1988. In the early 1990s, he worked statewide with Arizona for Fairness in support of  LGBT issues.
  • Dr. Robert Berrier is the Campaign Strategist. For 25 years he headed leadership and organizational development for clients of Spring International, a national survey and focus group business. Berrier has run 60 campaigns for Democrats and progressives and won 59 of them.
  • Laura Little is the social media director. She is the Director of Marketing and Fan Engagement for UA Athletics, in charge of sports marketing and digital advertising.
  • Diane Cuneo is the Creative Director in charge of advertising. She has advertising agency experience.
  • Ivanna Ferra is the Campaign Manager, in charge of reaching young voters. She is a Tucson business owner with an education in marketing. She has worked with Mi Familia Vota, which visits schools, community centers and homes of citizens to register voters.
  • Priscilla Teran is organizing a novel video ad competition for the campaign. She is the General Manager of Tucson Bike Share and was a Community Outreach and Recruiter for the University of Arizona.

Yuksel is competing with Democrats who have been elected to office, including Ann Kirkpatrick, Matt Heinz, and Bruce Wheeler. “Yeah, they’be been in office before, but that doesn’t mean they succeeded in office,” Yuksel said. “We need a new generation with new ideas to get into Congress and represent the people of Southern Arizona.”

Healthcare“We want to have affordable and universal healthcare for everybody, from the day they’re born to the day they die,” Yuksel said. “I see a path forward with our current system, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). We just have to reduce a lot of costs and continually mitigate the growing levels of epidemics, the rising age levels and the cost of new medical advances.””We also have to hold the pharmaceutical companies accountable, as well as the state hospital networks and the insurance companies,” he said. “The ideas behind the Affordable Care Act are not just from Obama. They have been proposed since Truman first envisioned it and Lyndon Johnson enacted Medicare in 1965.”

Jobs that pay wellWhen I was in China I gained a lot of experience learning about how they attracted investment and how they attracted a huge amount of jobs to their region,” he said. “It’s about industrialization and focusing on your strengths. Southern Arizona has a strong potential for solar energy, optics, planetary sciences, and cybersecurity. These are strong sectors that will bring high-paying jobs.”“But it also a matter of education. I’m not talking about a 4-year or 10-year education. I’m talking about quick vocational training programs that are developed in tandem with the private sector. We’ve seen it done successfully all across the US.”“A lot of people don’t want or need to go to 4-year education to get the job that is high-paying. The 2016 median household income is under $50,000 — it’s not that high. And one of three single-parent families live in poverty. Eight out of 10 families live paycheck to paycheck. It’s incredibly important to have a high-paying job.We can do better by focusing on niches that are strong in this region,” he said. “We can focus on building a strong, educated workforce, and making sure the government is supporting that development through economic incentives.”

Campaign finance reform“Campaign finance reform is the biggest issue facing our democracy,” he said.  Candidates like me are spending a lot more time than they should on raising money because it costs so much to advertise. “We’ve got to change it. We have public media like NPR and C-SPAN. Can’t we make them the primary sources of information about candidates?” he asked.Let’s also expose and disclose all money — from campaign contributions to individual donations — no exceptions,” he said. “We can create this system where the only money a candidate can get is from the voters in that district. It’s a small price to pay for democracy.” “Right now I’m traveling across the US raising funds. Let’s incentivize a system where people in the district are the only ones making contributions to the candidates. That’s what democracy is — not candidates spending 75% of their time seeking contributions.”

A young generation with new ideasDespite the odds, Yuksel is upbeat. “I’m willing to work with everyone to find common ground that we can all stand on. That’s the most important thing. We have to get back to the basics of working together again.”“Congress is so broken. We’ve got to work together. This young generation has new ideas to solve the issues ahead. We will reinvent our institutions so that the 21st century can be another American century.”“I would like everyone to come down and see the energy and the magic that’s happening in our office. It’s hard to explain the momentum we have. We have a lot of people volunteering and getting us out there. We’re going to win this, that’s for sure.”Learn more at his official website www.yahya4congress.com.

Martha McSally Exposed as the Worst Kind of Politician

Martha McSally video

Even among the hard right, McSally’s announcement video ad was received as confusing, weird, and ultra-Trumpian.

On a beautiful day in January, retired Air Force Colonel Martha McSally, the elusive Arizona Republican Congresswoman from Tucson, who has incredibly not held a Town Hall in close to three years, stood in front of a small crowd of VIPs congregated in a private airplane hangar (east of Tucson) and declared her candidacy for Arizona Senate. Her rally was an over the top, hyper-nationalistic “barn burner” of an occasion, where McSally told the crowd that she was ready to – as they say in the Air Force: Fly, Fight and Win.

McSally dressed up in her old A-10 flight suit, awkwardly rattled off some sort of racist stuff about the Mexican-American border, Sharia Law, and Trump’s Wall – then hopped in the back seat of a shiny WWII T-6 vintage trainer plane. She was then flown, by another pilot to Phoenix and Prescott for further campaign rallies – it was over-the-top self-aggrandizement.

U.S. Rep Martha McSally, a two-term Republican from Tucson and a former Air Force combat pilot is running for the same Senate seat which U.S. Senator Jeff Flake will retire from following his fiery rebuke of President Trump’s fascist tendencies on the Senate floor. The three-candidate, dogfight of a primary pits McSally, (the clear choice of the GOP establishment), against pardoned Sheriff Arpaio of Fountain Hills and conspiracy theorist Kelli Ward, a former state senator from Lake Havasu City, both of whom will be battling to win the party’s conservative base. Just last week, McSally was endorsed by our state’s former governor, Jan Brewer.

Confusing and weird

In the digital ad that accompanied her “Fly, Fight, Win” campaign rallies, McSally walks among aircraft and bizarrely declares:

“I refused to bow down to Sharia Law, and like our president, I am tired of DC politicians and their BS excuses – I am a fighter pilot and I talk like one. That’s why I told Washington Republicans to grown a pair of ovaries and get the job done.”

Continue reading

I’m Sick of John McCain’s Healthcare Hypocrisy

Don’t shed a tear for Senator John McCain. As he spends his dying days enjoying the best health care the government can buy, he is in favor of gutting health insurance for 11.8 million Americans who get health insurance via the Affordable Care Act.

Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer on July 19, 2017. For him, healthcare is free.

Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer on July 19, 2017. For him, healthcare is free.

McCain became a quasi-hero last year when he voted against the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare, but don’t be fooled. He votes with Trump 83% of the time and he’s solidly in the “repeal and replace” camp.

The GOP Congress has worked to sabotage the health care law by killing the individual mandate to have insurance, cutting the sign-up period in half, slashing the ad budget and stopping billions in subsidies to insurers.

Despite that, 43,499 people in Arizona enrolled in coverage for 2018 on Healthcare.gov. McCain, who is dying of brain cancer, gets free healthcare as a US Senator and Navy veteran — but he would take away the guarantees and protections that the health care law provides for everyone else.

McCain’s appalling reply

Recently I wrote McCain, calling on him to support the Affordable Care Act. His letter back was appalling:

Since the enactment of Obamacare more than seven years ago, American’s across the country continue to see the consequences of this disastrous law. In Arizona alone, the cost of midlevel health insurance plans on Obamacare’s marketplace increased by 116 percent on average last year. Worse still, before Obamacare, Arizona had 24 insurance companies selling plans on the individual market. Today, there are just two companies and 14 of Arizona’s 15 counties have just one insurer. That is not what President Obama promised when this bill was signed into law, and why the status quo is simply unacceptable.

Continue reading

200 Stories: Tucson Healthcare Forum, Oct 29

200 Stories: Tucson Healthcare Forum

Do you have concerns about the Affordable Care Act and repeal attempts; about the future of Medicare and Medicaid; or about access to care or the cost of drugs?

Whether you are a patient or a provider, we want to hear your medical and health insurance stories. The LD9 and LD10 Legislators are holding an open mic forum in which we listen, you talk, and we all learn.

This is a free educational community event for residents of Pima County. It’s about listening and learning from each other. Senators David Bradley and Steve Farley and Representatives Kirsten Engel, Randy Friese, and Pamela Powers Hannley have confirmed their attendance. (Rep. Todd Clodfelter was invited but has a scheduling conflict.)

In the news, we hear what politicians and big corporations think should be done with our country’s overly complicated and extremely expensive health care system. At this event, the people of Southern Arizona will have an opportunity to tell us their stories and help shape future policy.

Mark your calendars for October 29, 2017. The event will be held 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, 4831 E. 22nd St.

Please take a few minutes to register with EventBrite by clicking here. We want to make sure we have enough seats.

Watch Facebook and other social media for updates.

The Yin & Yang of Public Policy: Can We Achieve Balance?

The Yin and Yang mosaic

The Yin and Yang.

On one hand, the news media often tells us that we are a country divided. Social media fuels this idea with countless stories of political and ideological intransigence despite mounting societal needs.

On the other hand, the news media also often tells us how much the general population agrees on certain topics. For example, although Congressional Republicans have been working for seven years to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) and return to the glory days of market-driven health insurance, polls show an increasing majority of Americans “believe the federal government has a responsibility to make sure all Americans have health care coverage.”

An Associated Press story published today reported that “Americans overwhelmingly want lawmakers of both parties to work out health-care changes, with only 13 percent supporting Republican moves to repeal ‘Obamacare’ absent a replacement.”

“Nearly everyone wants changes to the Obama law, while hardly anyone wants to see it abolished without a substitute in place,” according to the AP. If 80-90% of Americans think Republicans and Democrats should work together on healthcare insurance reform, why not do this? Why the complete disconnect between what the people want, what’s good for the health of the population, and what the Republicans in Congress are doing?

Continue reading

Save My Care Bus tour returning

THE BUS TOUR IS BACK

“Update: The bus tour is going back out on the road for the August Congressional recess. Stay tuned for more details, and for now, check out wrap up of the first tour below.

The Save My Care bus traveled over 15,000 miles to hold 53 events in 23 states so we could hear your stories about why your health care matters. Together, we sent a loud and clear message to Congress: do not repeal the health care we rely on.

Congress is still rushing through a dangerous bill that will destroy our health care, and so our fight continues. Watch our video, then share it on Facebook and Twitter below to spread the word about what’s at stake.

https://www.savemycare.org/tourevents/ (video of previous bus tour from Washington D.C. to 23 states, including Arizona).

Save Our Care is launching a bus tour for August recess, so we will keep posted as we find out cities and dates the bus will be stopping; Phx and Tucson and quite possible Cochise County will be around August 4th-5th. ”

Continue reading