Sanford Bishop has been targetted by teabaggers for many months now, yet he voted for health care reform. So a bunch of us went to Albany, Ga. to thank him. Look what's missing! No teabaggers. The organizers outfoxed them. Even the press was positive. Get this irony: the only TV coverage was the local Fox affiliate, and it was positive:
More than 100 people shouted, clapped, and waived thank you signs at Congressman Sanford Bishop as he explained his decision to vote yes to pass the health care reform bill.
Bishop says the decision wasn’t easy to make because his constituents were split down the middle for and against the bill. "You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. I decided that if I was going to be damned I might as well be damned on the side of the angels and do the right thing for so many people who need health care" says Bishop.
The rally was peaceful and no one opposed to the bill was in attendance.
Here's a playlist for the whole event, which was a clinic opening doubling as a thank you rally.
Update: Another press item about the rally, also positive, this time from Macon, Ga., about 120 miles away and just outside GA-02:
I've posted a comment with more about that one.
Why did Sanford Bishop vote for health care reform despite opponents picketing his offices? Let him tell it:
We need to thank Congressman Bishop for his vote!
The man is unflappable. Here he's accepting an award from the National Association of Community Health Centers, when somebody drives by and yells about needing jobs in southwest Georgia:
Bishop listens, salutes with raised fist, laughs, and agrees.
Unlike Jack Kingston (R GA-01), Bishop is not shy about saying the clinic he's opening was funded with ARRA (Stimulus) money, and is creating jobs:
People came from all across his district and outside it to thank Sanford Bishop:
Christie Fisher came all the way from Savannah, 200 miles and 2 Congressional districts away, to express her displeasure with John Barrow (D GA-12) who voted against, and her desire to assist Congressman Bishop:
Bishop was the only Congressman in South Georgia to vote for health care reform. Barrow, Jim Marshall (D GA-08), and of course Jack Kingston (R GA-01) all voted against it.
We can't afford to lose Congressman Bishop. He listened, he paid attention, and then he did the right thing.
If you live in GA-02, you can write a letter to the editor supporting Sanford Bishop. Or you can volunteer for his re-election campaign, which will be starting soon. Or donate. Even if you don't live in GA-02 you can still volunteer, or donate.
A little context on GA-02: it's a 60% white district, and Sanford Bishop usually wins by 2/3 majorities. Why? He listens to his constituents, and does things they need. For example on health care reform, back in August he held a town hall that was a model for how to do it.
Way back when he first ran for the Georgia legislature, he ran in a district that was 65% white, and won. This isn't about race. He's supported by white farmers as much as by in-town blacks. It's about a man who does his job, and does it well.
How well? For example, he gets an A from themiddleclass.org and an A+ from IAVA on veteran's issues. He endorsed Barack Obama for president and was co-chair of his campaign in Georgia. Sure, you can find issues where you may disagree with Bishop's vote, just like for any elected official. Sanford Bishop is a solid Democrat who listens to his people and votes his conscience. We need people like that in Congress.
And don't think Bishop is unassailable because he's won by 2/3 majorities the last three elections and he ran unopposed in 2002. 2000 was a squeaker between him and a black Republican heavily supported by the national Republican party.
Republicans will target Sanford Bishop this year. We need to support him. What will you do to help?