Notes from the Campaign Trail (2)

The second and third indelible images from my door to door campaigning in South Philly yesterday were two people who have been directly impacted, as I have, by the opioid crisis. In both cases, the residents opened their doors and gladly signed my petition when I asked them to do so. As they were signing, I told them that the field of Democratic candidates was crowded with qualified progressives so I wanted to state what made me different. When I told them that 15 years ago I took a $100, 000 pay cut to become a public school teacher in Philadelphia, they looked up from my clipboard, smiled briefly, nodded, then continued filling out the fields of the form. When I told them that three months ago my son, Brendan, 23, died of a heroin overdose, and I decided to run a month ago to address the opioid crisis which I felt was getting lip service from our elected officials and insurance companies, they stopped writing, looked up and their faces transfixed with emotion. A man at least my age said, "I am so sorry. My family has been hit hard too. That is why I am raising my grandchildren." He finished signing and told me I had his vote. A block away, a beautiful young women caring for a newborn looked up and said, "I am an addict. I am in recovery. I have been clean for three years now but I have lost so many friends. The commercials say come and get help. Dial this number. But when my cousin went, they turned him away because he did not have heroin in his system." I shared that the same thing happened once to my son. She said we have to provide treatment to people who are suffering and want to change their lives." I said, "That is the solution I would fight for, win or lose, for the government to cover the treatment for the uninsured and insurance companies to cover treatment for their policy holders."She said, "You have to win."