San Francisco for Democracy reaffirms public education, health care, women's rights for upcoming election

As election time draws near, San Francisco for Democracy explained how the upcoming election could affect key issues like health care and public education.

The grassroots organization met Wednesday night to discuss issues that focused on women’s reproductive and health care rights, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act and public education for the upcoming election.

Marsha Donat, grassroots manager at Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific, spoke about women’s health care rights and how these rights could be affected by the election’s outcome.

“We have seen several attacks on women’s health care,” Donat said, adding the Shasta Pacific Action Fund is working on the national level to get people to vote in favor of abortion rights.

Maxine Anderson, who gave the opening and closing speeches of the meeting agreed with Donat’s view of the treatment of women.

“Areas where politicians feel they can attack is large concentrations of women,” Anderson said.

Ellen Shaffer from the Equal Health Network added her input about women’s rights, saying San Francisco needs to show its support in order to fight back in the election.

“We have strong pockets of support here in the Bay Area,” Shaffer said. “What we want to do after this year is show our strength, after we win this election.”

Shaffer also talked about the Affordable Care Act, which she said is meant to increase coverage and access to health care, provide consumer protection, and improve quality and lower cost. Shaffer said that “people can stay on their parent’s health insurance longer,” since the act would extend health care coverage up to age 26.

Public education was the last presidential election topic of the night. Ken Tray, political director at the United Educators of San Francisco, focused on how the country would change should Mitt Romney be voted into office.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure Barack Obama has another four years,” Tray said, explaining that the U.S. would have educational apartheid if Romney gets voted into office.

Tray, who wore a “No on Proposition 32” button proudly pinned on his jacket, explained his belief that the teachers union has been taking a beating.

“I would challenge anyone here to find a group more under attack than the teachers union,” Tray said.

Tray ended by discussing how the aftermath of the election will either affect the 99 percent or the 1 percent, segueing straight into the next portion of the meeting.

Occupy members Jane Smith and Clark Sullivan paneled during the second half of the meeting to talk about Occupy after one year and the politics behind what they’re fighting for.

“I believe there are many things we can get involved in,” Anderson said. “We need to give people something.”

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