By Deb Murphy
These are interesting times.
Sunday afternoon, Marge Doyle, a candidate for the District 8 seat in Congress, drew a standing room only crowd in the Bishop City Council’s chambers.
Doyle is from Joshua Tree, an RN who came up through the ranks to take an administrative position with a healthcare company that puts HIV clinics across the country. She’s president of her local healthcare district. And, she’s a Democrat.
Doyle came to Bishop to find out what issues were on the minds of folks in the Eastern Sierra. “I’m asking for my marching orders when I get elected,” she told the 70-plus crowd.
She started the two-hour session answering the big question—why would a Democrat run enthusiastically for a seat in a predominantly Republican district.
After what she described as the trauma of last year’s Presidential election, Doyle figured out a way to make things better. She contacted Congressman Paul Cook to discuss fixing the holes in the Affordable Care Act and provide more accessible care for veterans. Cook listened politely. When the House came up with its healthcare plan, Cook’s staff asked Doyle to review and recommend. “The plan covered fewer people and didn’t save any money—don’t vote for it” was Doyle’s recommendation.
Cook voted for the plan. His response when Doyle asked him why: “it doesn’t matter, the Senate will fix it.” It was that statement that sent Doyle down the path to the June primary for Cook’s seat.
The balance of the two hour session was a Q&A cover a broad range of issues.
Healthcare: According to Doyle, more of the U.S. economy is spent on healthcare than developed countries focusing on prevention and maintenance. “We don’t have healthcare, we have sick care,” she said. “We need to move in the direction of universal healthcare and stop sabotaging what we have now.”
Immigration: Doyle is pro DACA and comprehensive immigration reform.
Education and funding for private schools: Public education and public money should stay together.
Environmental Issues: “We need to have a serious discussion about what we want to leave our children,” Doyle said. “District 8 has pure, pristine places we cannot lose.”
Breaking through polarization: Doyle described her experience as the only Democrat on a conservative Morongo Basin Healthcare District. “You have to find common ground,” she said. “You have to have mutual respect, listen but still hold your values.” During Doyle’s tenure on the district board, the High Desert Medical Center went from near bankruptcy to a reserve of $14 million while increasing access and services.
Appealing to voters under 30: Doyle’s message to young voters was simple: “I believe you should have a future.”