At a town hall meeting in Las Vegas this afternoon, Barack Obama called for a change in this country's divisive, special-interest politics. He told the crowd at Doolittle Community Center that the future of America depends on our ability to come together and unite the country around a common purpose, putting our national interests ahead of the special interests.
"And so we face a choice in this election. Do we continue the cynical math that says it's a winning strategy to divide our country in two, or do we find our stake in each other as Americans and unite this country around a common purpose? Do we continue the conventional Washington foreign policy that led us into a misguided war, or do we engage with friends and foes in a way that restores America's moral leadership and security? Do we continue to allow lobbyists to veto our country's progress, or do we finally put our national interests ahead of the special interests, and address the concerns people feel over their jobs, their health care and their children's future? That's why I'm running for President of the United States. Because to meet these challenges, changing parties isn't change enough. We need something new. We need to turn the page," said Senator Barack Obama.
Prior to the speech, Obama met with Gladys Laughlin of Laughlin, Nevada and Barbara Harbin-Turner of Las Vegas to hear about their experiences and concerns with healthcare affordability and deceptive lending practices. Senator Obama recognized the two women at the event and asked them to share their stories with the audience on the area's expanding healthcare crisis and a record high number of home foreclosures this month in southern Nevada.
Gladys Laughlin is a cancer patient and retired elementary school principal from Laughlin. She travels to Las Vegas to receive treatment as part of a clinical trial at the Nevada Cancer Institute, but without the trial, she would be unable to afford her treatments on her fixed income. While she is currently receiving treatment, she sympathizes with all those who cannot afford the healthcare treatments they need.
Barbara Harbin-Turner, a former Federation Aviation Administration employee, was a victim of predatory lending, and is now in danger of losing her home. When she originally bought her house in 2000, she was paying just under $1400 for her mortgage. After refinancing her home, she was paying $2000/month, interest-only, and ended up paying $22,000 in interest alone. She was finally able to get a third mortgage, and is now paying just under $1700/month, which she cannot afford. She is also supporting her daughter and helping raise her granddaughter.
"My experience tells me that real change and reform come when we're willing to put the people's interests before the special interests and partisan interests. That's what I did in Illinois when I took on money in politics and passed the first ethics reform in twenty-five years, and that's what I did in Washington when I passed a law that earned me the cold shoulder from leaders of both parties - for the first time in history, Washington lobbyists will have to disclose who they're raising money from and who in Congress they're funneling it to," continued Obama.