Yesterday I attended an event to raise money for Sal Pace, the 3rd District’s Democratic candidate. Sal keeps improving as a candidate, but he is still stumbling on occasion.
One example, a few days ago PBS ran a story about health care in the U.S. Because Grand Junction has a very unique health care system, it has been receiving national attention for years. It has even drawn President Obama to town. Dr. Michael Pramenko, who has been an advisor to Obama, and several other locals were featured in the television production. Given our national prominence, one would think that the candidate who is seeking to represent us would know something about our local system.
When mentioning health care, Pace attempted to compare Grand Junction with his hometown of Pueblo. You could feel the room atmosphere change when he said that in Pueblo you see billboards advertising hospitals all over town because there were two hospitals competing for business. He said that because Grand Junction has only one hospital, we don’t see that here.
For the record there are three hospitals in Grand Junction: Community Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital, and the V.A. medical center. We frequently see both billboards and television advertising for the two private hospitals.
I had the privilege of driving an 85 year old man home from the event because he no longer drives. This is no ordinary 85 year old man. He has taught at university hospitals for years. In fact he is still on the teaching staff at a hospital in Chicago-one affiliated with a major university. He has been an executive in a company that makes medical implements. He knows medicine and the problems facing the health care industry. He said that he left a rather nice check for Pace, but that someone needs to get to Pace to tell him to dig a bit deeper into the things he is talking about. The good doctor said that I should “sell” myself to Pace for that purpose. So, Victor, this note to Sal is for you.
The good news is that Pace noted several times that he is a Catholic, but is able to separate his religious beliefs from public policy. When pressed on that point, he said that he would call himself Pro-Choice. He got a lot of applause from the women in the room when he said that. John Salazar could never bring himself to say in public that he was Pro-Choice. A lot of women, who had previously supported Salazar, dropped their support for him in 2010 because he wouldn’t stand up for women’s issues.