Travel Log: Lobby Visit and Rally with Rep. Bost, O’Fallon, IL

Sister Mary Ellen Gondeck, CSJ
October 18, 2018

This morning’s visit with Representative Bost’s District Director, David Tanzyus, was mixed.  When we walked into the office, he very concerned as he told us about the death of the receptionist’s daughter. He continued by sharing that he was a social worker.  It gave me some hope that he was a man of compassion.

Sister Mary Ellen Lacy, Sister Gwen Hennessey, Sister Quincy Howard, and myself joined with two constituents, Larry Evans and Cheryl Sommer, as they shared their stories of health care issues and pain because of losing health care insurance.

Larry’s son was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and nearly bled to death. At the time of the second incident, he was laid off with decreased pension and no health insurance.  Cheryl had five children and is now raising her granddaughter while relying on the Affordable Care Act.

David’s response shifted. The questions raised by Larry and Cheryl about the ACA were not answered and in fact, dismissed. The statements from Mary Ellen and Quincy, from Network about the House Farm Bill and the tax policy were also denied and dismissed.

The most heard phrase heard as we left the office was that the encounter was a display of “indifference.”

After the visit, we headed outside to rally for accountability, and a small crowd had gathered. Rev. Norma Patterson spoke powerfully about the needs of local communities. We told the crowd about our lobby visit, and Larry and Cheryl shared their personal stories of how this tax law is hurting and will continue to hurt their families. We look forward to hearing more stories as we journey on!

View more pictures from the event here.

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