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DAY TWELVE: Holiday Weekend Occupation Pushed Out In The Hall.

Activists continue take-over of Gov. Bredesen’s office outside the door.

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen.(NASHVILLE, July 1, 2005) State police moved activists’ belongings into the hall and locked the door to Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen’s office just before the long holiday weekend. The occupation will continue in the “locked down” public building in the hallway outside the governor’s office.

“We were distracted following a press conference,” said Lisa Abell a TennCare advocate, “they moved all of our stuff out to the hall and locked the door. It does not effect our continuous message at all, we will be back in the office on Tuesday.”

Activists have occupied the governor’s office day and night since June 20. The coalition of TennCare supporters is demanding that the governor stop the massive disqualification of citizens in need of healthcare, and openly discuss the issues. Governor Bredesen has refused to meet openly with the demonstrators; he has only offered closed-door meetings. TennCare is the Tennessee Medicaid program that offers additional healthcare coverage beyond the federal minimal requirements. Governor Bredesen’s “plan” is to return to the federal minimum, terminating healthcare to over 300 thousand citizens.

“The governor’s staff seems opposite of the coalition of TennCare supporters,” said Abell, “they are grudging, untrustworthy and power hungry. I was surprised that people that are heading up our state government cannot control themselves and will act like an abusive parent. While the people of Tennessee are trying to make state government less corrupt, this administration is holding power by closed-door meetings, private deals, golf course encounters and handshake legislation.”

Testimony this week in the Grier case has seemed to show that the governor  plans to end the healthcare for 323,000 citizens at a cost to taxpayer of about $100 million.  The governor promised during the 2002 campaign that he would “fix” TennCare.

“The people feel betrayed,” said Abell. “People who have benefited from TennCare are here to save the program for those citizens that need it.”

Outside the door of the governor’s office is a long hallway with food stacked on the wooden benches and protestors sitting on the floor. The nightly vigils outside the building will continue over the long weekend.

“We have a cold and hard marble floor to sleep on tonight,” said Abell, “we have a few books and a few blankets. We will survive.”

-Tim Wheat

MCIL Journal Index 2005

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© 2005 Tim Wheat