United We Matter sponsors meetings to inform State Retirees about their legal and legislative efforts to reinstate their prescription drug coverage. Here are pictures and recaps of those events.
November 18, 2021
Eastern Shore RX Drug Coverage Meeting
We had our Eastern Shore RX Drug Coverage Meeting yesterday at the American Legion on Romancoke Road on my birthday. The meeting went very well. The turnout was great and we could not have set this up and have the meeting run so well without the help of our volunteers. Our lawn signs went like hot cakes (the State of Maryland needs to see those yellow and black signs everywhere!). The attorney spoke about the litigation and where we stand at this point. I spoke about our strategy for the upcoming 2022 Legislative session. Delegate Sheree Sample Hughes (Speaker Pro Tem) Delegate Johnny Mautz (one of the Fantastic Four) Michael Arntz (a representative sent by Congressman Andy Harris) all spoke to State Retirees.
Delegate Sample-Hughes comments appeared scripted. She said she supports our efforts but could not do anything while Fitch v. Maryland was in litigation. (I guess she forgot that they passed SB 946 while we were in litigation. I guess she forgot that they passed a bill for one judge to get health and prescription coverage this year even though he was not vested. I guess she forgot.) She directed our attention to the Governor who submits the budget. (She did not indicate that over the last four years the legislature has overrode all vetoes signed by the Governor indicating that the power to make this happen lies within the legislative branch not the executive branch). But I commend her coming to give the leadership opinion on our struggle although her message was nothing could be done at this time. Delegate Mautz, who was one of only four who voted against SB 946 (hence the name Fantastic Four), stated he would help in any way he could. He talked with me about setting up another meeting in Easton and practically guaranteed media coverage to get more people aware of our fight. He told the assembled audience that we were doing the right thing with the rallies and protests, echoing what Delegate Dan Cox said. We need to be a presence in Annapolis for the 2022 Legislative session. We are on the right track, however we need more people to show up at these events. We need you, if you can't make it - send your daughter, your son, your friend, your neighbor - how about your pastor? Make it a priority when we schedule an event. This is your benefit we are fighting for. Mike Arntz informed us that he was sent to get information about our fight and relay it back to Congressman Andy Harris. He said he took pages of notes on the issue, was moved by the testimonials he heard, and wait for it......he left with a lawn sign! Yup, it was a good meeting.
It was great to see so many new faces. Members gave heartwarming testimony about what would happen to them without this coverage. They asked these lawmakers to give back what they earned. Members brought neighbors, their family and friends. They were respectful, courteous and their words were powerful. The word is getting out. The reality about the incredible injustice of this situation is now taking root.
Our volunteers were incredible! Special thanks to Jean and Bud Eckstorm who seeing the size of the crowd, and noting there was nothing to drink, went to Dunkin Donuts and came back with coffee and donuts for the multitude! I would also like to thank Donna Clifford, Phyliss and Robin Roberts, Clara and Anthony Agro, Diane Ramsey and Judy Calabrese. They manned the tables, helped pass out the signs and helped set up the coffee table. I could not have held this meeting without their help. Thank you.
It is in your interests to sign up and attend our next meeting. The powers that be in the legislature is taking note (why else would they have allowed the Speaker pro tem to attend?) It appears they wanted to gauge the level of participation and commitment that State retirees have to pursue this issue with her presence. Well I think every lawmaker who showed up yesterday, realized we were not going away. So now, in this upcoming election year, they have to decide whether they are for reinstatement of our benefit or against it. It will be an interesting session next year.
Remember tell a fellow retiree. Remember to call your representative and let them know that we are not going away until they right this wrong. Remember – We Matter.