I’m in. I’m running for Congress.
I’m running because I promised Charlaina and Rick that I would. Charlaina called me a few weeks ago, from the hospital. She told me that her husband, Rick, was suffering from multiple organ failure -- lungs, kidneys and liver.
Rick was 56 years old. That’s three years older than me.
Rick was a veteran. But the Veterans Administration wasn’t covering his hospital bills.
Rick had had a bad liver since he was 30, when he contracted hepatitis. No insurance company would go near him.
Every day Rick survived, his family owed several thousand dollars more to hospitals and doctors. And they had no way to pay it.
I told Charlaina how sorry I was. And I told her that I wasn’t in Congress anymore, so I wasn’t sure how I could help.
She said: “You can run again.”
“You are the only person who ever cared about people like us. Rick wants people in Congress who can’t be bought and sold. Rick wants you to run again.”
A dying man wants me to run for Congress. What exactly could I say?
I promised that I would run.
Rick died on June 30, 2011, at 5:55 p.m.
I’m keeping my promise. I’m in.
For the four million people in Florida who can’t see a doctor when they are sick, and the fifty million nationwide, I’m in.
For the 70% of all homeowners in Orlando who owe more than they own on their home, and the 25% nationwide who are “underwater,” and feel like they are drowning, I’m in.
For the six million Americans who haven’t worked in six months and are seeing their benefits running out, for the eight million more who are unemployed, and for the eight million on top of that who can find only part-time work, I’m in.
For the millions of parents who have absolutely no idea how to pay for a college education for their children, I’m in.
And for everyone who is appalled by the prospect that we may cut Social Security and Medicare benefits as we spend more than $150 billion a year on three unnecessary wars and almost $100 billion a year on the Bush tax cuts for the rich, I’m in.
I’m in. And I’m going to need your help. Are you in?
Follow Rep. Alan Grayson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/alangrayson