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While folks are focused on the most minute details of the presidential race, don't forget that there are a bunch of great candidates toiling away to turn longtime red districts blue.  Candidates who are running under the national radar, candidates with modest finance but real energy and real support who are running on common sense progressive platforms in conservative rural areas.  Candidates who, in a year like this, have the opportunity to make a real difference in the complexion of Congress and our chances of passing important legislation in the term to come.
Let me tell you a little more about one such candidate.  Jeff Morris.  

I've written about Jeff before  here.  That diary will tell you more about the district, its current Bush-rubber-stamp-Republican and about Jeff.
I want to focus on one example of his leadership today, one that is particularly close to my heart.  I'm a registered nurse and activist for real universal healthcare.  Living in a rural area, I'm acutely aware of the struggles of many of America's small rural hospitals.  In many small towns, mountain and farming communities, the resources of big city hospitals are far away.  The local people depend on the local small hospital - often a public county or district hospital - as an important link in the healthcare chain.  The emergency services those hospitals provide are especially vital.  When the farming accident, the logging accident, the car wreck on a mountain road happens, it's the small rural hospital that saves your life.  But in the business logic of a healthcare system designed to maximize profit, those hospitals have no place.  They don't have the volume, they don't have the attractive building, they don't have the profit center services.  They just save lives.  So, all over America, those small hospitals are struggling and often closing, leaving local folks with long and perilous ambulance rides to the nearest emergency care.

I know, and most of you know, that the real answer to the problem is a healthcare system with a different logic.  A healthcare system that puts people before profit.  A healthcare system that puts services where they are needed, not just where they are profitable.  But the people of those rural communities can't wait for that, they need their hospital kept alive today.

Let me quote the text of a special award for innovation given by the California Association of Counties to Trinity County, where Jeff serves as a  county supervisor:

Trinity Hospital, a county-owned facility, transitioned into a district hospital through an innovative partnership formed by the county government and local electric utility. Trinity Hospital, like many rural county-owned hospitals, was facing a fiscal crisis. In response, the County approached the local utility district for assistance. The utility district advanced the County funds to keep the hospital afloat and a joint powers authority was developed between the two agencies to run the facility. Furthermore, a successful election was held that created a healthcare district and tax measure to fund the hospital. A citizens committee called "Trinity Cares" played an integral role in the formation of the healthcare district and passages of the tax measure. Trinity County now has a hospital as part of an independent healthcare district that will continue to save an average of one life per week through its emergency room, as well as providing much-needed daily care to its citizens. In a county that has never passed a countywide tax measure, it is remarkable that this measure was passed with 70 percent of the vote. This has also created a more positive relationship between Trinity County and the local utility district. Working together, the community was able to keep its hospital open and make a difference by saving lives.

Jeff played a key leading role in forming the partnerships and passing the bond measure - in a very tax adverse area - and today both the hospital and the county are on much firmer footing financially.
So please help us replace our 'empty suit' Republican with a progressive candidate who understands the real needs or our rural area, who knows how to do the hard work to make things happen and will work toward healthcare that works for all of us - from the big cities to the small towns across America.
To learn more about Jeff and donate to support his campaign, visit
Jeff Morris for Congress  You'll feel good about it and I'll be so grateful to have a representative I can feel proud of.

Originally posted to Chico David RN on Mon Sep 29, 2008 at 03:06 PM PDT.

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