Building Chapters Is the Key To Winning Single Payer in 2020
-- Lee Mercer, HCAO Mobilization Chair
Tom Sincic, retired nurse and current President of Health Care for All Oregon, told me the other day that he feels expanding our network of statewide HCAO chapters is the key to winning a ballot measure in 2020. Or words to that effect.
I have to agree with Tom that, besides growing our database from our current nearly 24,000 supporters, to 80,000, and our current list of member organizations, from 122 to 250, expanding our statewide presence by establishing chapters throughout Oregon, is a key to winning in 2020. It is these chapters, and these supporters and organizations, which will help build our “field strength” when we need to start collecting ballot signatures and/or extensive canvassing in support of our universal health care measure.
So let’s look at where we are and where we need to go.
If you go to the Local Chapters page on our website, you will see we have a presence in 23 of 36 counties in Oregon, including Baker, Benton, Clackamas, Coos, Crook, Curry, Deschutes, Hood River, Wasco, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Umatilla, Union, Washington and Yamhill.
But in many of these counties we have a scattering of supporters and an area contact on the website, but no chapter or deep membership. We do have chapters or strong organizations which function like chapters in 12 counties- Clackamas (HCAO Clackamas) Coos (HCAO Bandon), Benton (Mid Valley Health Care Advocates), Douglas (HCAO Douglas County), Jackson (HCAO Rogue Valley), Josephine (HCAO Grants Pass), Klamath Falls (HCAO Klamath Falls), Lane County (HCAO Eugene and HCAO Florence), Linn (HCAO Albany), Marion Polk (HCAO Marion Polk), Multnomah (HCAO SE Portland and HCAO Metro Council), Union (Oregon Rural Action Health Care Reform Action Team) and Washington (HCAO Washington County).
As these chapters or organizations cover many of the strategic counties in terms of reaching the majority voter base, we have a good foundation for statewide outreach. But we are actively seeking more new chapters to both expand our reach for canvassing and voter education, and to assure that the voice of rural Oregon is heard in our discussions on creating a universal health care system.
As Mobilization Chair, I have been recently meeting with or contacting folks in the Gorge, Tillamook County, Yamhill County, the coast from Brookings to Astoria, and Eastern Oregon as far out as Ontario. We have also had recent film screenings on single payer from The Dalles to Klamath Falls, from Bandon to John Day, and in Bend and Burns.
Each newly formed chapter will have a different vision of their role as a part of the movement. Some will only want to meet occasionally and do a few film screenings and table at some community events. Others will be capable of meeting monthly, doing educational and film events more regularly, hosting house parties and canvassing to educate voters. Whatever you can do to spread the word and get folks ready to support and vote for universal, publicly funded health care, will help move the ball forward.
So if you are interested in forming a chapter in your part of Oregon, contact me, Lee Mercer, Mobilization Chair.
And if you are a business owner or know of one who would like to sign on as a Business Supporter of Universal Health Care (we have over 160 already listed on the website), you can sign up online or print out a support sheet on our Business Allies page.
Thanks again for your support of Health Care for All-Oregon’s campaign to create universal publicly funded health care in Oregon—and eventually, the United States!