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Memorial Day, Herb Kohl and Wis SeniorCare

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Message Michael Leon

- via MAL Contends

Madison, Wisconsin -- As we continue to salute our fallen veterans and those currently serving, and let’s honor the spirit of Memorial Day and Armed Forces Day not just in May but 365 days a year, I wish to note on another matter that last week, the Wisconsin Democratic congressional delegation came through and saved the popular Wisconsin SeniorCare drug program from the Bush administration’s determination to dismantle it.

Senator Herb Kohl had been pushing for an amendment to save the state SeniorCare program for months and he made sure that SeniorCare was part of the emergency spending bill to continue funding the Iraq war that passed last week, so today we salute Herb Kohl (also a reliable veterans’ advocate) for his resolve and success in saving this vital program for Wisconsin seniors until 2009, when George Bush will be gone.

“I think we ought to thank Herb Kohl, and Dave Obey (D-WI) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) too. I never approved of adding to a (war-spending) bill like this, but this time I do,” said Irene Captain of Wisconsin Rapids, a seniors’ activist with SeniorCare, who was on the Wisconsin legislative committee of the AARP and lobbied hard for the initial establishment of SeniorCare. “We need SeniorCare, it works, so why destroy it?”

Irene, whose late husband, Wesley Captain, was a World War II veteran who stormed the beaches at Normandy; knows the benefits of this program personally. And Mrs. Captain was not a happy woman when the Bush administration announced plans to destroy SeniorCare.

But Kohl, Feingold and Obey came through.

That's the American thing to do: Protect our seniors, honor our fallen, act for others' pursuit of happiness, and live free or die.

"The drug coverage that seniors in Wisconsin have come to know and depend on is going to stay in place," Kohl said in a statement. "The delegation stuck with it, and we got the job done."

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Michael Leon is a writer living in Madison, Wisconsin. His writing has appeared nationally in The Progressive, In These Times, and CounterPunch. He can be reached at maleon64@yahoo.com.
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