"I supported Karen Weldin Stewart four years ago for Insurance Commissioner. However, she has not lived up to her promise to protect Delaware consumers. I've worked with and have gotten to know Mitch well enough to say for certain that he will deliver on his promise to put the consumer first."
John did not just support KWS four years ago, he did so enthusiastically, and with much effusive language:
I just want to weigh in here if no one minds. In my scores of visits to the Wilmington Carvel State building where our new castle county State offices are located, I’ve often encountered Karen at the front desk where she was stationed as a paid and/or unpaid worker for the Dem. Senate and McDowell. I related some of this story just recently at the UAW Region 8 Women’s Conference that I recently spoke at. I have seldom seen as dedicated a constituent server as Karen.
On innumerable occasions we would go over SB177 (the single payer bill that McDowell and I are on) looking to answer queries and concerns that people might have with the bill. Karen would often update me with the info she had gathered from one of her out of state sources promoting similar bills or having a specific knowledge of portions of it. I would drop off a question or needed interpretation and the next time in Karen would have the answer.
But this is not what struck me about a person obviously doing her job well. What impressed me every time was Karen’s dedication and compassion for those people who would call with a myriad of problems ranging from not having health care, to utility shut-offs, to foreclosure, to not being able to afford to clothe their children for school. Karen would stop me at the door and say “Representative Kowalko could you give me someone at ACORN or Delmarva or the AG’s office that I can call to help this person” (usually on the phone desperate for advice). Then she would say I’ve tried everywhere and there must be something we can do to get them help. Even as she embarked on her campaign I would remark that maybe she could get someone else to make those calls or get those answers and every single time Karen would say no there has to be something we can do. We would then spend time we didn’t have trying to do something.
Karen Weldin Stewart is a genuinely compassionate and concerned person who will not turn her back on those most in need. Her enthusiasm to help people still inspires me to work harder since I realized that here was a staffer more dedicated than many elected public servants to helping people. In fact she is one of the most knowledgeable and intelligent people I’ve encountered in public service. Anyhow , my apologies for being long-winded but Karen has earned every word I’ve written here and more.
Note the reference to SB 177, which was the original version of the current Delaware Single-Payer bill HB 392. Back in 2008, KWS was apparently the apple of Representative Kowalko's eye when she was supposedly helping vet the bill:
I can’t answer for Karen but when you look at any plan, especially as complex as single payer universal health care, you better be devil advocating in your scrutiny of the real or imagined weaknesses. I was asking Karen some serious questions that were or would be raised as we moved forward and she was diligent in researching the proposal and objections to the proposal. One important fact to recognize in the context of politics is that if you fail to anticipate even the most seemingly insignificant objection it could be used to politically distract from the basic importance and intent of the legislation. If Karen doubted that SB177 could pass as written then her reasons for doubting it were of paramount importance to the discussion to enable crafting the argument for passage by addressing the concerns honestly. Karen handled a difficult task with the objectivity necessary to move single payer to the next level of discussion.
In fact, KWS claimed in her official 2008 campaign materials to have been--at least--the editor of SB 177 if not the author:
Karen put together SB 177, the single payer health plan, and will work to get it enacted.
(She may have done some editing, but there is plenty--plenty--plenty of evidence that SB 177/HB 392 is almost single-handedly the work of Dr. Floyd McDowell. I may not like the bill, but let's not steal the man's credit for writing it.)
She was also a legislative aide for state Sen. Harris McDowell (D-Wilmington North) and prepared a number of pieces of legislation, including Senate Bill 177, a single-payer universal health care bill.
She said establishing a universal health-care system in the state would be among her top priorities in office, in addition to her day-to-day responsibility of being the watchdog of the insurance industry.
[KWS] said single-payer may prove too costly . . . .But, of course, KWS didn't support Single-payer in SB 177 or any other form once she got elected, which I suspect caused John Kowalko to abandon her--with the cost of his endorsement to Mitch Crane being Mitch coming out in support of the rejuventated SB 177 (now HB 392).
Of course, the problem is that Mitch Crane didn't even wait for a full day before vacillating in his own support of Single-payer, declaring that (a) it might not be possible in Delaware and that (b) we should wait until at least 2014 (or maybe even 2017) when Vermont adopted Single-payer and see how that worked out.
One of the reasons that jason cut off the comments in that thread was probably to save Mitch from doing any more damage to his own campaign.
Which raises the burning question: if Mitch Crane cannot manage to distance himself from his flip-flop on Single-payer, will John Kowalko desert him as thoroughly as he deserted KWS?
Probably a moot point: the good folks at Delawareliberal won't bring up Mitch's apostasy again, and unless the KWS people figure it out for themselves, he's liable to get away with it.