At all three Saturday meetings, we had WAY more people attend than RSVP’d.
Our first town hall was at The Villages, Florida…’America’s Friendliest Hometown’. One person told us “all our friends wanted to come, so we each have a ‘Plus One’!” Despite the very early hour, the crowd was electrified and welcoming. Held at the Colony Cottage Recreation Center, the room overflowed with almost 200 seniors. Amy and Rick got the crowd excited.
Shona’s story was chilling–when she told the crowd that we need to keep government out of our health care decisions, there were calls of “Hear, Hear!” “Yes!” and at least one “Right On”! She told the group that she had no other choice but to be a health care refugee: that she really would have preferred to be surrounded by her family (and her golden retriever) while she went through the ordeal of brain surgery, but when you are desperate enough, you will do anything and go anywhere to get help. She said that there will be no ‘undoing’ if Obamacare is in full force, and not only will Canadians have no where to go to get life saving care, but neither will Americans.
David followed Shona with facts about the financial burden Obamacare inflicts, mostly on senior citizens. Not only are there $716 TRILLION in cuts to Medicare (which don’t address waste, fraud and abuse already existing in the Medicare program), but there are huge tax increases that will cause even more burdens on seniors and their families. The audience was very displeased to hear of the Medical Device Tax, and the ‘Community Transformation Grants’ which give New York and Boston millions of dollars to put calories on restaurant menus. One woman in the back shouted out ‘For crying out loud!’ There were nodding heads throughout the crowd when David said “60 Plus is an independent voice for you in Washington. You can count on them to represent your values, your health and security, and your family’s future.”
Jimmy’s ‘clean’ comedy about his life in Florida, New York, and Tennessee had the crowd roaring! Who would have thought that 9am would be such a great time for laughter? His airline security routine had the crowd jumping to their feet to applaud.
When Jim took the podium, the seniors were ready to hear the true facts behind the Obamacare ‘smoke-and-mirrors’. They were enraged that the AARP betrayed their membership by concealing the opposition to PPACA at the astounding rate of 14 to 1, and nodded in agreement that seniors–then and now–knew what was in it, didn’t like it then, and don’t want it now either. Jim told the group that seniors vote in larger numbers than any other age group. He affirmed that we are nobody’s fools, and we will not be scared into the voting booth with false numbers and threats of Granny being tossed over the cliff. There were shouts of “Yeah!” when Jim vowed not to retire until the confiscatory and unfair Death Tax is killed forever.
When Rick sang ‘God Bless the USA’ the crowd spontaneously stood and raised their arms as they sang along.
After the event, one person told Amy that residents of The Villages are spoiled…they are wooed all the name entertainers and top tier politicians. She said she heard several people say that this was the best event they had attended, and they were unexpectedly delighted by the quality of the policy messages and the entertainment.
The turnout was so huge at the town hall at our 60 Plus Central Florida office in Winter Park, that there was overflow onto the sidewalk and parking lot! At least 160 people came to hear our message and sign our bus. Jim presented Congressman Daniel Webster with our Guardian of Seniors’ Rights Award and our Ben Franklin Award. One very special guest was Bonnie Roberts, our 91 year old ‘star’ of one of our 2010 television commercials. Bonnie told us she was praying for our success and was ready to do anything to help us accomplish our mission. Bonnie graciously posed for pictures with the staff, then signed the bus. What a treasure we have in Bonnie!
Our final event was at the 60 Plus Tampa Bay office in Saint Petersburg. Under a huge tent, we had well over 120 very responsive seniors. Amy had them cheering with her question “Are you ready for the next 31 days?” Amy touched the crowd with her stories of her Grandpa Phil (a veteran who stormed Normandy’s beach), her beloved Grandmother (who succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease), and her father (battling against a serious illness). She related that it is in honor of these seniors, and others like them, that has led her to make seniors’ issues her life’s work. She pledged to not let the freedoms seniors have fought so hard for to slip away. Amy shared the messages we’ve spread, and the voices we’ve heard, during our Florida-to-Florida 6 week Health Care Freedom Tour.
David’s costs of Obamacare discussion spurred lots of audience participation with cries of “I hear ya’!', “That’s right!”, “That’s scary!”, etc. He urged the seniors to keep taking steps forward, regardless of the results of the upcoming election.
As at every stop, the President George W. Bush video tribute completed Amy’s introduction to Jim. When the President came on the screen in Tampa Bay, there were loud cries of “OHHHH!!!!” throughout the audience. When Jim said 60 Plus was dedicated to the adherence to the U.S. Constitution, “AMEN” rang out from several people in the audience. He urged everyone to stay focused–we can and will make a difference. That Senior Citizen Tsunami is still offshore, and will be coming ashore again in just 31 days.
When Rick sang ‘God Bless the USA’, everyone rose out of their seats and sang along.
Somehow, folks found some places where they could still sign the bus–it is almost completely covered with messages from seniors all across the country!