Activists hound lawmakers undecided on health care

    In the final days before a vote on health care legislation in Congress, activists are pushing hard to get undecided lawmakers to make up their minds.

    Congress is expected to vote on the Democratic proposal to overhaul the health insurance system this week. Activist groups on both sides of the health care debate are out in full force this week, trying their best to sway undecided lawmakers.
    (Photo: A protestor rallies outside Congressman John Adler’s office / Kerry Grens ) [audio:100317kgrally.mp3]

    In South Jersey, Congressman John Adler’s office has been getting a lot of traffic. Adler voted no on the first iteration of the health care bill last year, and has said he’s undecided on the latest offer.

    Several hundred Tea Party patriots rallied outside his office this week, followed by several dozen pro-reform picketers the next day.

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    Odette Cohen, a pediatrician from Cinnaminson, rallied with the group Health Care for America Now. She says she feels betrayed that the democrat might not side with President Obama.

    Cohen: This man, I pounded the pavement in the sun, in the rain, when it got cold. I pounded the pavement for Barack Obama and this man here and he has not returned the favor.

    Gary Johnson rallies outside Congressman John Adler's office / Photo: Kerry Grens
    Gary Johnson rallies outside Congressman John Adler's office / Photo: Kerry Grens
    Gary Johnson of Willingboro rallied outside Adler’s office with Cohen. He says Adler will lose democratic support if he votes no on the bill.

    Johnson: If he votes no, he’s going to lose those votes. If he votes no, he’s going to gain no votes from the other side, because they’re not going to vote for him regardless. So if he votes no, he’s voting no to a second term.

    Stephen Jeffries, the president of the Ocean County Tea Party group, says members are calling, faxing and writing Adler daily.

    Jeffries: We’re requesting that everybody in the group as frequently as possible, but at least once or twice a week make a phone call email or fax to one or more of those offices and express their desire for the individual to vote against the health care bill.

    Jeffries says he’ll do everything he can to thwart Adler’s re-election if he votes in favor of health care legislation.

    Other groups have planned rallies in western Pennsylvania, where there are other undecided lawmakers. In Pennsylvania, Congressman Jason Altmire’s phone has been ringing off the hook from consituents trying to voice their opinions.  Meanwhile overhead, an anti-abortion group has been flying a banner urging him to vote no on the bill.

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