Former Hawai'i state Sen. Gary Hooser serves as president of the Hawaiʻi Alliance for Progressive Action and last week he gave a rousing endorsement to Sergio Alcubilla, a progressive candidate who had just announced a primary campaign against conservative Blue Dog Ed Case, one of the corrupt reactionaries working to tank the Build Back Better program in Congress.
"Today," wrote Hooser, "if you are a senior citizen on Social Security and Medicare, you have no dental, hearing, or vision coverage. Imagine the quality of life (or lack thereof) of kūpuna without teeth, who only hear half the words coming from their grandchildren’s mouth, and are homebound because their vision is so poor. This could all change in the next few months IF the current majority of Democrats in Congress stick together and vote yes in support of President Biden’s $3.5 trillion (over 10 years) Build Back Better Agenda. Unfortunately, every single Republican in Congress has indicated they will be voting no. Three of our four Hawai‘i members of Congress, Representative Kaialiʻi (Kai) Kahele (CD-2), Senator Mazie Hirono, and Senator Brian Schatz, have expressed strong support for this once-in-a-generation legislative initiative."
The 4th member of the Hawai'i delegation is not just not supporting it, Ed Case is working to kill it, although pretending to voters back hime that he supporters it. Back to Gary Hooser:
[H]e appears to be working at cross purposes-- attempting to undermine rather than strengthen the legislation.
According to multiple media reports, in addition to the opposition coming from Republicans, a small group of conservative Democrats including Congressman Case, are attempting to delay and impede the efforts of President Biden and the Majority Democrats who are in strong support. Case’s group is pushing for the measure to be “de-linked” from a separate physical infrastructure bill which is also poised to pass into law. President Biden and the Majority Leadership in Congress oppose the de-linking as that action is widely seen as a maneuver that ultimately weakens the prospect of passing the larger $3.5 trillion package.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that the only thing standing between 61 million Medicare recipients getting their teeth fixed, a better pair of glasses, and finally that hearing aid they have been waiting so long for-- are 12 Democrats: Senator Manchin (West Virginia), Senator Sinema (Arizona), Representative Ed Case (Hawai’i), and 9 of his friends in the House of Representatives.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “37 million people, or nearly two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries, have no dental coverage. Not coincidently, half of all beneficiaries reported they had not been to a dentist in the past year, and 15 percent said they had no teeth at all.” The National Institute for Health estimates, “about one-third of those between 65 and 74 have hearing loss, as do nearly half of those older than 75. On average, hearing aids cost between $1000 and $5000.”
In addition to the long-overdue expansion of Medicare, the Biden “Build Back Better Agenda” includes provisions that will lower costs for families with young children and will reduce taxes for 25 million low-moderate wage workers. The plan also invests heavily in fighting climate change, expanding opportunities in education, and supporting the construction of millions of affordable homes.
“The Build Back Better Agenda will create jobs, cut taxes, and lower costs for working families-- all paid for by making the tax code fairer and making the wealthiest and large corporations pay their fair share.” White House Fact Sheet
This could all happen in just a few weeks' time, or it could take months and be dramatically reduced in size and scope. Or it could fail completely.
If passage of the Build Back Better Agenda is important to you, I encourage you to call every member of the Hawai‘i Congressional delegation today and let them know: Representative Ed Case (808) 650-6688, Representative Kaialiʻi (Kai) Kahele (808) 746-6220, Senator Mazie Hirono (808) 522-8970, Senator Brian Schatz (808) 523-2061.
And while you are at it, check out Sergio Alcubilla who recently announced that he was running for election to represent Congress in the 1st CD. Therefore, he will be opposing Congressman Case in the Democratic Party Primary on August 13th, 2022. Sergio is a good man, a class act, and a solid voice for economic, social, and environmental justice.
I have met with Sergio on numerous occasions and talked at length with him about his values. He is the son of immigrants, comes from solid working-class roots, and uses his legal training and education as a lawyer to pursue justice for those in need and who have less.
I am convinced that Sergio if elected to Congress would serve all Hawai‘i well and will always put people and the planet above corporate greed and big business. I will be doing whatever I can to help and support the election of Sergio Alcubilla for the U.S. Congress 1st CD and encourage you to join me.
I checked out Alcubilla's issues page on his campaign website and he has a robust agenda he is sharing with voters that includes Medicare-For-All, the Green New Deal and support for Biden's Build Back Better agenda.