I feel really lucky, considering all the awesome things I get to do because of this blog. One of the most special ever happened this past weekend when I headed down to Colorado Springs to meet with Kyra Sedgwick. (Does this now make me two degrees of Kevin Bacon?!)
Kyra was in town to talk about why she supports Barack Obama, and meet with people from Colorado to talk about issues in the 2012 election. Specifically, of course, she is most concerned about women’s issues. Kyra was incredibly well-spoken, and she worked on the Obama campaign in 2008 as well.
We both attended a small gathering of Democratic women and then I was honored to have a one-on-one interview with her before she moved on to her next event in the area.
I asked Kyra why she came to *Colorado* to speak about Obama.
She answered that first and foremost, she felt that Barack Obama was the clear choice for reelection – and she was proud to work for his campaign again. But specifically, she has a sister who lives in Boulder and she has been visiting Colorado regularly for at least 20 years. She commented on the loveliness of our state, and really appreciates how much we care about the environment – a concern that is very near and dear to her heart. (Of note: On Obama’s watch, wind production in Colorado is up 49%, and there are at least 18 major manufacturing facilities currently producing components for the wind industry here.) Good news for my best friend who just went back to college for an environmental engineering degree.
We then talked about women’s issues and the 2012 election.
One thing Kyra said has stayed with me. “I am so surprised, in this day and age, that I am worrying about whether my daughter will have the right to discuss her health and her body privately in her doctor’s office.” Meaning these are the things that are at risk in this election.
I understand not everyone is pro-choice. But Romney/Ryan have stated they will work to repeal Roe vs. Wade. Personally, I find this incredibly scary. I will be flat out honest. I have never had an abortion. I feel for people who have faced that choice, I know it is not easy. Either way, I *do* want that choice available for future generations, particularly in the instances of rape and incest. I also know that if I had to face that choice, I would prefer to have that discussion privately with my doctor. Wouldn’t you? I love this line from a very detailed Guardian article on this subject. “Republicans, who accuse President Barack Obama of putting government bureaucrats between doctors and their patients, were trying to mandate a medically unnecessary procedure that required the insertion of a wand into a woman’s vagina.”
So, yeah, we talked about healthcare.
This is probably the single most important issue to me in this election. As I mentioned before, I went uninsured this summer until I was forced to go on COBRA for an exorbitant amount of money.
Kyra was very sympathetic. She mentioned that she was lucky to have amazing insurance through the Screen Actor’s Guild, but she watched her brother struggle to find insurance due to pre-existing conditions. That he ended up paying large amounts of money for insurance that didn’t cover very much.
We both agreed how important preventative care is, that perhaps we can shift our thinking regarding insurance? I mentioned that I am a good example of both sides of that coin. That I work hard to control my diabetes, but was declined for insurance. Then – my life-threatening ear infection! Bam! Something that could happen to anyone, anywhere! Yikes.
Kyra went on to talk about the other things that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is important for... providing access to birth control (which is medically necessary in quite a few cases, as opposed to Viagra which *is* covered by most insurance), making it illegal to charge women more for insurance (I still can’t believe that was happening!), removal of the pre-existing conditions denials (woot!) and strengthening Medicare.
Medicare is really important to me as well, because several family members need it. Here in Colorado, 631,400 adults depend on Medicare… that’s a lot of people who need protection. Kyra described what Romney & Ryan would like to do with Medicare: vouchers. Personally, I think that is a very scary proposition for our seniors and people like myself who are, gulp, middle-aged. (Is 42 middle-aged? Close enough.)
P.S. I find this timeline from Healthcare.gov helpful in figuring out what is happening when for Obamacare.
After health, we talked about education.
“We can do better! Education is a building block for future generations!” Kyra felt pretty strongly, and as her children are just entering their twenties, she is a good position to understand this. She talked about how Obama is working to protect Pell grants to college students, creating tax credits to help middle-class families send their kids to college and expanding access to community colleges and skills training programs. Plus, I loved the story of a project in Eastern Colorado that will improve high speed internet for over 1,000 households, 270 businesses, and 40 critical community facilities, including five schools.
The most important message: VOTE.
“It’s a birthright! Women who came before us fought for this right, the right to vote for our choices. Women give birth to the future, we need to get out there and VOTE for it.”
I loved how passionate Kyra is on all these topics and it was such a joy to talk to her. She was very nice, approachable and… OK! – super pretty! She even tolerated me telling her how often I actually think of her – that scene from Singles when she reaches over to unlock the door for Campbell Scott. Every time I lean over for my husband… Oh hi, Kyra!
Many thanks to Obama For America – Colorado for inviting me to this event, and to Kyra Sedgwick for being so lovely.
October 9th is the deadline to register to vote, so PLEASE.
MAKE YOUR VOICE COUNT.