Guest Post: Ray Gonzales, Ph.D.
Dr. Gonzales is retired from the California State University system, served in the United States Marine Corps (1957-59), was elected to the California State Assembly from Kern County in 1972, served in the first Jerry Brown administration, was a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service from 1980 to 1990, Director of Recruitment for the Peace Corps from 1993 to 1997, and is currently teaching as an adjunct in the Department of Political Science at CSU, Bakersfield. The article below was published in yesterday's Bakersfield Californian.
Saturday, Feb 07 2015 11:00 PM
One, they had to meet with me in my office. They did not have to fly me to Mazatlan or Lake Tahoe for the meeting, as they did with many other legislators.
Two, I would not meet with them on the day the bill was being heard in committee or on the floor.
I recognized their right to lobby, as it is protected in the Constitution: "the right to seek redress of grievance" from your government. But they could not grab me in the lobby of the legislature, from where the term "lobby" derives.
On the appointed day, they came to my office for the meeting -- three fellows from the largest health insurance companies. I thought it would be a good idea to have Tim sit in on the meeting, so when he rolled in on his wheelchair, the lobbyists were a little nervous. This is what they had to say to me: "We will give Mr. Beckwith a health insurance policy if you drop your bill."
I was shocked but not surprised. My response basically ended the discussion. I said, "This is not about Tim Beckwith. It's about everybody in this state like Tim, who is not being treated fairly by their employers and the insurance companies."
Needless to say, with the overwhelming support of the disabled community and their supporters, the bill passed the Assembly and the Senate. And on July 21, 1974, it was signed into law by none other than Gov. Ronald Reagan.
This is a fact that is not too well known and certainly should be an embarrassment to Boehner and McCarthy. They should drop their hypocritical position on the health care law, as not only did Reagan support health insurance coverage for all, so did the GOP's last presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who passed a "Romneycare" law in Massachusetts when he was governor.
And Tim retired from state service after more than 35 exemplary years as a key employee who worked his way up the ladder to high-level management positions. I Facebook with him and his lovely wife, Donna, almost on a daily basis.
Ray Gonzales , Ph.D., a former Kern County assemblyman, is retired from the California State University system.