After a brief hiatus, I’m re-starting “Sweet Victories” as a weekly feature. Launched in the bleak aftermath of the 2004 elections, “SV” chronicles progressive wins–from legislative and electoral victories to successful organizing efforts, protests and boycotts, to the launching of a promising new idea, organization or initiative. I hope these stories will serve not only as a source of information but as inspiration. The victories may sometimes be small, but they’ll always be sweet. And I hope Nation readers will contribute their own ideas for “sweet victories” by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A few months before Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed a healthcare plan that, according to Shum Preston of the California Nurses Association “will take us backwards by increasing the income and influence of insurance companies,” he vetoed Sen. Sheila Kuehl’s California Universal Healthcare Act. The legislation, which was reported on in an Editor’s Cut last fall would have guaranteed “truly affordable healthcare to all.”
The veto was no doubt a setback for those who struggle to go through life without health insurance, but Sen. Kuehl and the people of California have a message for their governor: we still demand health care for all and this bill is not going away.
Sen. Kuehl has reintroduced the bill and on May 8, thousands of health care activists rallied at the State House in Sacramento to urge its passing. The bill has already been passed by the Senate Health Committee and there is optimism that bill will once again make it through the state legislature and back to Schwarzenegger’s desk.
Will he deprive Californians again, or will he be a healthcare hero? Thanks to the work of Sen. Kuehl and others, he may well have to decide, publicly, whether or not to adhere to the will of his constituents.
And that is indeed a sweet victory.
This post was co-written by Michael Corcoran, a Nation intern and freelance writer based in New York City.