Advocates for national health care reform, including the Washington State Labor Council, plan a large rally Saturday afternoon in Seattle, and several South Sound activists plan to participate.
Nearly 5,000 people are expected at Seattle’s Westlake Center downtown, said a spokeswoman for the organizers, Leigh Sims. A march is set to begin at 12:30 p.m. at Edwin Pratt Park in the city’s Central District and will continue to a rally planned at Westlake.
Korinne “Korky” Lacy, a nurse with Providence Sound Home Health in Olympia, said she will attend because she wants to see “affordability, first and foremost.” She favors a public-funded health insurance option with a chance for all to be covered.
“I think it’s within reach. I think if people work at it, it’s within reach,” she said.
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Organizers of the event include the labor council, the Washington Community Action Network and the Healthy Washington Coalition. The latter group held a series of discussions throughout the state in the past year to hear what the public wants, and it has been pushing for universal coverage.
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is scheduled to address the crowd before it marches; she has opposed a single-payer system. U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, supports single-payer health care and will talk at the closing rally.
Buses have been chartered to bring people from throughout the state but are full, labor council spokesman David Groves wrote in an e-mail. He listed Spokane, Pasco, Yakima, Bellingham, Mount Vernon, Everett, Vancouver, Centralia, Lacey and Tacoma as participants.
The event is a lead-up to a June 25 national rally in Washington, D.C. Similar lead-up events are planned before that in other states.
Lacy said she was active in Barack Obama’s campaign for president locally and is a member of the Service Employees International Union 1199 Northwest. But, “as far as a rally like this, this is the first time I’ve participated,” she said.
For more information about the event, go to www.may30march.org.
Brad Shannon: 360-753-1688