Palmer speaks about congressional work at chamber luncheon

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Gary Palmer

How well do you think you know your Congressman?
August-2016
As a member of the Grassroots Advocacy Committee for Multiple Sclerosis, I was asked to have a face-to-face meeting with my Congressman Gary Palmer . I will make this as brief as possible but I want to share with you my experience.

We (my daughter, Suzanne who was diagnosed with MS in 1994), and a representative from the MS Society local chapter) met with Mr. Palmer to discuss three bills that we were asking him to support pertaining to the healthcare of those affected by Multiple Sclerosis and other neurological issues. I told him about our journey with MS, that both of my children had been diagnosed, and how costly it is to have a chronic disease. Suzanne shared her story about not being able to find a job, how she was not rehired by three school systems when it came time to be tenured and ultimately having to go on disability.

His first answer to our request was “it’s not going to happen”. He was very direct with no sense of empathy. He went on to say that our country was in so much debt that he couldn’t address healthcare issues at this time since he was on the Budget Committee. We got a 10 minute speech on the debt crisis to which I responded with questions about the “wars” we were in and how could we afford to send our people to Bagdad to “rebuild” when our country is in so much need. No real response from him. He is very partisan - speaking against anything pertaining to the current administration. Again, he stated that “it’s not going to happen.”

I went on to explain to him that without funding for research, a cure could not be found. I also told him how hard researchers at UAB and throughout the world were working on answers to MS and how fortunate we were to have UAB and the best doctors right here in Birmingham. His response: “let’s find a cure first, then we can talk.” I made him repeat that statement. My response to him was that he was a little confused - that’s not how it works - how can a cure be found with no funding? I went on to tell him that my goal in life was to find a cure for MS in my children’s life time. His response: “what do you think this would do to the pharmaceutical companies - if a cure for cancer and MS was found?” Again, “would you please repeat that?” Of course, my answer was I didn’t really care what happened to the pharmaceutical companies.

I was appalled at his answers but even more disheartened by his cold and apathetic concern. Whether or not he could or would support these Bills, he appeared to be totally emotionless with no concern for others healthcare needs.

As we were walking to the door at the end of our meeting, I turned to him and said, “please take a good look at me and my daughter and when you vote “no” on these Bills, please think of us.” No response from him.

August-2017. He was a no show at this year's scheduled meeting. Met with office people.

Sue Graphos more than 2 years ago

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