Interview with Jason Houk, HCAO RV
by John Darling
For the Ashland Daily Tidings, Jul. 13, 2015
Labor and environmentalists are joining together here for a concert and a little comedy to promote Health Care for All Oregon, a statewide movement for universal coverage.
HCAO on Wednesday is staging a concert, “Teamsters and Turtles,” featuring guitarist-singer Anne Feeney, a “labor hellraiser,” and noted environmental singer and social commenter Dana Lyons. It starts at 7:30 p.m. at Ashland First Congregational United Church of Christ at 717 Siskiyou Blvd. The suggested donation is $15, but no one will be turned away. Doors open at 7.
“We’re working on creating a system where everyone gets health care when they need it,” said HCAO organizer Jason Houk of Ashland. “We’re looking at it as a model for the nation.”
In addition to raising funds for the drive, Houk says it’s a progressive step, showing labor and environmental forces working together — and dispelling the stereotype that environmentalism shrinks jobs, while labor expands them.
“The main struggle with unions and environmentalists,” he says, “is what you see with the Keystone pipeline. Labor wants jobs for communities and to preserve traditional employment. The environmentalists want to preserve land and resources. It’s not usual for them to sit at the same table. But resources need to be preserved for sustainable development. These different ways can work together. It’s traditionally been loggers vs. EarthFirsters. But they are on the same side when faced with a bigger threat, like climate change and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. These are places where environment and labor find common ground.”