Local health care: what's next after vote failed
by ALICE DU PONT, The Gadsden County Times Editor
voters rejected the half-cent sales lax, which would have provided
funds 10 help the uninsured and underinsured receive health care.
"I'm disappointed, but I feel good that 47 percent of the
voters did support the idea," said Max Martinez, executive
director of the Gadsden County Health Council, which supported the
referendum. "I can sleep at night because we did our job," he
He also had high praise for the political action committee, Gadsden
County Citizens for Quality Healthcare, that was responsible was
holding meetings, placing signs, and going 10 communities to push
"They did a marvelous job. I was very impressed by the way
they organized themselves, went to the churches, and hit the pavement," he
Encouraged by the slim margin of defeat, Martinez said he and others,
who want to see everyone get health care in the county, have already
begun work to get the issue on the 2008 ballot. He hopes for success
on the second try.
Martinez said he was taken' aback when, a few days before the election,
signs in opposition to the referendum began popping up throughout
"I don't have a problem with people opposing (the measure)
but I would have liked for them to come to the table and present
their plan if ours was not to their liking," he said.
Martinez said he learned the local Republican Party opposed the
tax and were responsible for the signs.
"If they have another plan, I would love to hear it. It's
important to all of us if people who have opposing views are willing
to discuss the issues and at least come to a compromise," he
A similar referendum in Leon County also failed. "I think
that because so many people from over here work in Leon County and
because there was a 101 of opposition and publicity, they might
have gotten a bit confused thinking thai our referendum was like
Leon County's," he said.
While he is disappointed in the vote, he said the bigger issue
is Gadsden Countians taking responsibility for their health.