Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Castor meeting calm despite call for protest

TAMPA -- A meeting to advise people about their federal benefits was calm and quiet Friday despite calls by the local Republican Party for members to go and protest the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, who organized the event, is one of the health care law's strongest proponents. In 2009, she organized a town hall meeting that was interrupted by shouting and shoving when opponents bused hundreds of people in to protest Obamacare

But at the Jimmie B. Keel Regional Library on Friday, most of the crowd of 75 or so who showed up were there for one-on-one meetings with Castor or her staff members to discuss problems with federal agencies.

Two local conservative political activists, Tom Rask and Sharon Calvert, were there to speak to Castor about their opposition to the ACA, asking her to work with Republicans in Congress who are determined to repeal it.

Calvert also wanted to urge Castor to support the controversial TBX plan for redesigning interstate highways in Tampa.

But most attendees were there for reasons like those of James Gordon, a Tampa welder who recently found himself with custody of his two grandchildren following the death of his daughter. He said he hopes for federal assistance with housing, but has been told that because he has a job, he's not eligible for most programs.

Jennifer Incontrera of Tampa, who home-schools her 8-year-old daughter Isabella, wanted her to meet a female Congress member.

"She could be in politics one day," Incontrera said. "I want her to see a role model, and when she's old enough, I hope she'll fully participate in our democracy."

James and Linda Palmer of Tampa, both on Medicare, said they were there because of sharp increases in the costs of medication, and fear that if the ACA is repealed, it will re-open the "doughnut hole" in Medicare coverage of drugs.

Castor sat in individual meetings with attendees but didn't appear before the full crowd.

The local GOP sent an email to members Thursday urging them to attend "a great opportunity to tell her … your disappointment" on stances by Castor, including her votes against ACA repeal and against H.R. 7, a bill that would outlaw coverage of abortions under multi-state health insurance plans such as those sold through ACA exchanges.

Castor said Rask and Calvert were the only attendees who argued for ACA repeal.

"The overwhelming number are worried … that it will pull the rug out from under them," she said. "I'm not hearing from our neighbors that ACA repeal is a priority."

Castor meeting calm despite call for protest 01/27/17 [Last modified: Friday, January 27, 2017 4:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Hillsborough and Pinellas officials can't even agree that they agreed to meet

    Local Government

    Tampa Bay political leaders often tout taking a regional approach to solve the region's most pressing issues. But the challenge has been getting Hillsborough and Pinellas County leaders together on the same page.

    Or in this case, in the same room.

    This month Hillsborough County administrator Mike Merrill (above) nixed a joint meeting of the Hillsborough and Pinellas County Commissions. But Pinellas County Commission chair Janet Long said her Hillsborough counterpart, Stacy White, had already agreed to two meetings. [DANIEL WALLACE   |   Times]
  2. Ex-sheriff's official says sheriff intentionally hid federal inmate revenue from county

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — The former third-in-command at the Hernando County Sheriff's Office has filed a complaint, alleging that Sheriff Al Nienhuis intentionally hid from the County Commission $1.3 million in revenue he collected from housing federal inmates last year.

    OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times  Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said he was "extremely disappointed'' to hear of James Terry's allegations about the sheriff's handling of federal inmate dollars and noted that Terry was "offered the opportunity to resign from his position at the Sheriff's Office when numerous complaints as to his unprofessional conduct began flowing into the front office.''
  3. Fewer minions make things better in 'Despicable Me 3'

    Movies

    Despicable Me 3 doubles down on Steve Carell's silly way with words, a smart idea after too much Minions gibberish spoiled part 2. They're still here, in smaller doses and somewhat funnier for it.

     voiced by Trey Parker, in a scene from "Despicable Me 3."  (Illumination and Universal Pictures via AP)
  4. After Rick Scott veto, Tarpon Springs renews push for money to dredge Anclote River

    Local Government

    In a pocket formed at the end of a branch of the Anclote River, Kevin Meisman has seen the size of the boats coming by his family's business get smaller.

    Kevin Meisman, 37, looks out from the dock of his family’s business, Quality T-Tops & Boat Accessories, in Tarpon Springs. Meisman says that, without dredging along the Anclote River, the number of boats he can service is limited.
  5. Senator Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa