The Mountaineer, By Rachel Robles | Apr 23, 2017
Photo by Rachel Robles
Matt Coffay, a community organizer with Our Revolution AVL, announced on Sunday his bid to run against U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows (NC-11) in next year’s midterm election.
“I think what we need all across America are leaders who will stand up for the working class values that everybody in this crowd cares about,” said Coffay. “I think we’re going to need people who are going to stand up to the likes of Mark Meadows — people who only serve the interests of wealthy donors and who grandstand every week on TV for publicity for their own benefit at the expense of the people of their district.”
A loud cheer went up among the hundreds of people gathered at the historic courthouse in Waynesville, waving their signs and umbrellas and chanting “Yes we can!”
Despite the cold and almost-continual rain, crowd participation was strong during the approximately two-hour Medicare for All Town Hall: N.C. 11th District rally that consisted of guest speakers who shared personal testimonies, chanting, cheering and speeches.
The speakers were Leslie Boyd, health care activist; Terri Bradley, Marketplace navigator; Nilofer Couture, community organizer; Lauren Baxley and Lucia Gerdes, small business owners in the 11th District; Dr. Ed Morris, physician; former Rep. Joe Sam Queen; and Coffay, who announced his candidacy at the end of the rally.
Boyd shared the story of her son who was born with a birth defect, which was considered a pre-existing condition. He was denied health coverage, and because the family couldn’t afford his treatments, he eventually died.
“His life didn’t matter to Mark Meadows, but it mattered to me,” said Boyd. “You want to make America great again? Get rid of the bums (in Congress). … No one deserves to die the way my child did.”
The rally was held with support from organizations from all 16 counties in District NC-11, including Henderson-Transylvania Democrats, Burke County Young Democrats, Progressive Nation WNC, Transylvania Indivisible, Henderson County Democratic Party, Burke County Democratic Party and Our Revolution AVL.
Carol Lords came from Asheville with a colorful sign and a sturdy blue rain jacket. “It’s important to let people know we all don’t support the current administration and need change to represent all the people,” she said.
Sukey Pratt, from Hendersonville, also wielded a sign and rain gear. “There are two reasons I’m here,” she said. “Probably the biggest one for me is because of Matt Coffay. He’s ‘Our Revolution.’ He’s local. And I’m here to support him. Second, I’m a senior and our healthcare is tied up with the Affordable Care Act.”
Two tented areas were set up as a postcard writing stations, which people filled out and put in a bag to be delivered to Mark Meadows.
“I’m here to tell you that I’m going to stand up to insurance companies. I’m going to stand up to the health insurance industry … and say that we need Medicare for all,” said Coffay. He said that he believed in the power of the grassroots movement.
“The road is going to be hard. The road is going to be long, but I believe in us and I believe in all of you. This is going to be a really tough fight, but I’m ready to fight and I hope you’re ready to join this fight with me,” said Coffay